It’s an interesting discussion. Speaking with pastors here in Carson City, and asking how church is going, leads to all kinds of fun answers. A common theme is a certain amount of ownership pastors seem to take in their flocks. In John 21:15-17 Jesus tells Peter to “feed my lambs”, “tend my sheep” and finally “feed my sheep”. In the words of Christ from John 10:26-27 “My sheep know my voice…”. Are the flocks being tended for Christ or groomed for ourselves? Hosea 4 gives a glimpse of Israel’s condition, as does Micah 3:11 and finally Malachi 2. Jeremiah 25:27-38 is something I try to keep in mind as well. Ezekiel 34 is both warning and God’s solution.
Why are we going here, you might be wondering? Is your flock singing the praises of the good shepherd or trumpeting the glory of the lay-shepherd?
Is your flock well groomed, cared for, able to eat good solid food and producing more lambs? Does a shepherd produce lambs or sheep? Or do sheep reproduce sheep?
In 1 Peter 5:2-4 Peter passes on the instructions for caring for the flock. Paul likewise give a bit of a dissertation to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:28-35. We are not to take ownership of the things that belong to God. At best, we are stewards. In the case of people, they are of God’s flock, they listen to the voice of Jesus. We are supposed to preach the voice of Jesus – not our own, so that the flock may follow Him. As sheep, are we putting unrealistic expectations on our shepherds? Are we being burdensome? Are we learning, growing, eating, drinking, and getting on in maturation? Are we a blessing to our leaders? In Hebrews we learn about our role as priests. We are priests – we have the spirit of the living God dwelling in us. Are we bringing others into the presence of God or drowning them in our presence?
As a member of the body of Christ, do I belong to a pastor or do I follow the good shepherd? Aren’t my pastor and I both a part of the body of Christ? My pastor may have been selected by God to be a leader of our fellowship of believers, but we are hopefully both a part of the glorious body of Christ.