Monday, January 28, 2008

A Message for The Shepherds

Currently I am reading an autobiography of Ansel Adams and I have to say, it's an EXCELLENT book. I highly recommend it if you are arty in any way. I keep sticking yellow stickies on it because there is so much I want to revisit and think over. Yesterday, I was reading a passage and it absolutely arrested me.
"There are sheep by the billion, but the shepherds are few. And the shepherds in the modern capitals of the world may lead us either to pasture or to slaughterhouse."

Ezekial had a little something to say about this as well:
Ez 34
1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? 3 You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. 4 You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. 6 My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them."

This is a scripture I have often thought about. I have been in a shepherding position and I know many of you reading this have been, or are currently. What kind of shepherd are you?

I have been in churches that are running fast and hard - doing fabulous things for the Lord. But, the cost has been high. Leaders and people have fallen alongside the way. The actions of the church have said, "sorry, we can't stop with you. We have places to go and things to achieve. Sorry you are hurt, but we have to keep running." I see this and I think of God's judgement on the shepherds - "you got fat off your sheep." Friends, this mindset is subtle and insiduous. It has no place in our churches and as shepherds, we are called to seek out the lost, the hurting and bring them back into the fold.

Back in the 80s Chuck Girard wrote a song called, Don't Shoot The Wounded. Part of the lyrics go,
Don't shoot the wounded, they need us more than ever.
They need our love no matter what it is they've done.
Sometimes we just condemn them, and don't take time to hear their story.
Don't shoot the wounded, someday you might be one.

Take some time to read the lyrics of the whole song. It really is a word to the Church.

Too often we are good at seeking out the unsaved but we have a lot of lost, hurting and damaged Christians who don't need our judgement. They need our love. They need a good samaritan to stop and bind their wounds - help them to the inn. I really have it on my heart this morning. People matter to God. We know this. But let me tell you that fallen and hurting leaders also matter to God. Those who have encouraged others, who have walked strongly and faithfully but for whatever reason are discouraged and wounded, they need our love, our encouragement. They need someone to stand alongside them when they are battle weary, and hold their arms up when they can do this no longer.

Will you be one who does? Will you be Jesus with skin on?


Karen said...

Last year I was drawn to studying Jesus as the Shepherd with his Sheep and this post brought a few things together. It's so sad but this is what is happening in Churches - a driven-ness to get 'somewhere' and 'quickly' and the Sheep are getting caught on the barbed wire, falling in ditches or whatever trying to keep up and some are just too injured to continue.

Still smiling about your duh moment - sounds very like a Karen moment too.

Mel's World said...

Can I just tell you something???

I read and re-read your post to me about the blog I wrote about God's Masterpiece and I thought...I need to go back and visit with her, she has a lot of good stuff to say...

So here I of the sheep (and shepherds) that were working full on at one of those fastest growing mega-churches reaching the lost but running over the sheep and the other shepherds. I know that God called me into ministry, I know He has also called me to a new and different ministry now.

Thank you for your was spot on!


freetofly said...

Sassi, I haven't been here since last fall. Love this...As a sheep, and a very minor shepard, I have to say...I concur & wholeheartedly amen that we need to come up higher, by the help of dilegently putting down our flesh & pressing into what God leads us into...

I also have to add, that as guilty as we shephards can be at running over and a fellow sheep, I am very put off, may I say even a little disgusted at the sheep that (I know that sounds harsh, but I am just being open here) are so "who's who" minded they think that Bro or Sis Superstar is to be The One to Pray with them, etc...and they step over bodies of shephards on the way "up the ladder" to heaven, so to speak...people like that I feel I can not help. I am sorry for them, but I feel my time is best spent on the ones who want help, healthy help, you know? I do not have a grudge but, nor do I see any benefit in trying to help "bind up" someone who is determined to run around on 2-3 legs chasing after the shephard they think is most important...that is idolatry & I have no idea why I am talking about that here, expect I guess I thought this might be a safe place to ask what you or some of your readers think about that? Is there more of an obligation in your opinion to try to "reach" those types of indivudals? I would rather help those who are hungry to grow and learn & are not into the "who's who"....

Hope this does not come out in a bad fashion. This is not usually something I would speak of...

In any case, thnks for the good reminders, it is a very good post SassiKiwi

Danifesto said...

So true! I loved this post! I always hear "keep your head up and eye on the prize" and it's all well to focus on goals but not at the expense of those around us who need Christ's love.

sassiekiwi said...

Hi Dan ... thanks for commenting ... I think people get stuck on the principle and forget the person quite often. Thats what I love about the Joshua book and movie ... they remind us of the way that Jesus loved people.

Free to Fly ...
Welcome back ... I smiled at your stories of the sheep looking for superstar shepherds ... yes we all have to deal with those ones. Yeah ... I don't think we can help ... we can offer and then keep an eye out for when they are so tangled up that they can no longer run around on 3 legs and then, they are ready to receive help! I guess the thing is, we can't write people off ... and too often we do ... especially ones that are wounded.

I am thinking of friends of mine that suffered deep deep wounds (pastors). Sure, I get tired of hearing the same stuff ... they are struggling to move past their wound ... and as I explained once when part of the couple was frustrated at the other half's inability to move on ... the pus has to come out of that wound ... and they do need a safe place for this to occur. However ... they have to get help if they can't get it cleaned ... and sometimes that is specialist help. In the meantime I can love, and correct and listen ... and PRAY!

Julie said...

Thanks for this. Really resonated with how I'm feeling today.

Julie x