Aside from Jesus, are there any other good shepherds?
John 10:11-12 – I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
To the answer of my introductory question, I declare, “Yes.” In our Text for Today, Jesus clearly indicates the qualifications for a “good shepherd.” Jesus declared, “the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” Yes, it is an all-too-well-known fact that many pulpits have had self-serving agents, “career ministers,” and even charlatans filling them for the sake of a pay check, a feeling of power, or by a sense of self-worth because the fell they should inherit that position. But all those “qualifications” do not describe a “good shepherd.”
Some people take the five-fold ministry as a profession. It is not. It is a calling; a divine calling. Some think the pastoral office to be a “cushy” job in which one gains an audience and a paycheck. It is not. It is a place in which one is put to serve the body of Christ; not use it as a showcase. And it is not a position of authority, but rather a placement of divine service to the body of Christ. I personally know individuals who meet all those qualifications in a strong and consistent manner. Yes, they are human, and as such, can make mistakes; even sin. Yes, they live in physical bodies that can come under attack by the enemy, and constantly live with the need to use their faith for victory. Yes, they have bills to pay, homes to maintain, and natural needs that should come to them through the giving of the church, but ultimately are provided to them by faith in Jesus Christ. And yes, they have in the past, now do, and will continue to lay down their lives for the church they lead. I served in that role for 28 years. I know the responsibility, the weight, the burden, and the depth to which the work can take its toll on one’s life. I know the struggles that can ensue, the attacks of the enemy, and the ploys he will use to attempt to cause a pastor to pull back from the pastoral responsibility. All these things can be, and often are costly. Every pastor I know lives in a place in which the need for constant learning and growth can be overwhelming. The pastor is often faced with situations of which he never dreamed. But rest assured, the Lord DOES know the answer. It is the pastor who always places his trust in his Lord in those situations that one can call a “good shepherd.” He is divinely connected to Jesus. Through is daily living, manner of life, study, compelling drive to grow personally so he can serve better, a pastor shows himself a follower (imitator) of THE GOOD SHEPHERD, and as such, can be recognized as such.
Manna for Today – John 10:1-21; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 2 Timothy 4:5
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