Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Continuing our study on the topic of “The Shepherd’s Heart”, we will focus today on John 10:4-5, which reads: “When He (The Good Shepherd) has brought out all His own, He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Here, it is obvious that the Lord’s sheep follow Him because they trust Him. He has never once failed to lovingly lead, protect, guide, and provide for them so they have no reason to doubt Him. Since He has always stayed close to them, they know His voice.
Here are two aspects that indicate a solid Shepherd-sheep (pastor-member) relationship. (1) A truly dedicated pastor stays close to his flock. To him, they are part of his family and his flock sees him in church all the time. When David penned his 23rd Psalm, he wrote “I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.” It was a comfort to him, as his Lord’s sheep, to know that his Shepherd was always close by. There are many pastors around who, because they are in high demand, are away from their home church so often that many of his members slowly lose the closeness they may have once enjoyed. (2) A pastor who does well in his effort to emulate the Good Shepherd, earns the trust of his flock. As we just mentioned, one way for a pastor to lose some of that trust is by constantly being away. Any church where the trust for the pastor is slowly fading will be in danger of eventually losing it’s testimony and effectiveness.
Lack of trust for a pastor is a two way street. The problem could lie either with the pastor or with his sheep. If the pastor has strayed from his responsibilities to his flock or does not love or care for them as he should, he will most certainly lose any trust he may have enjoyed with them. In many cases, however, that problem will arise because one or two unstable or dissatisfied members may turn other unsuspecting members against their pastor and those who believe the false accusations will no longer trust him. This happened in the life of Samuel, the religious leader of God’s people. From a very early age, his mother, Hannah, dedicated him to the Lord and he served God’s people faithfully for many years. However, when he was getting up on age, the people rejected him claiming he was too old to do the job and that he had also lost control of his two scoundrel sons, who also served as priests. The real reason that they rejected him, however, was that the people wanted to have a king like all the other pagan nations around them. See the story in 1 Samuel, Chapter 8.
Memory verse for the week: (Jeremiah 3:15) “Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.”