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:
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?