November 10, 2010

Servant Shepherd

Written by Wisdom Hunters

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- November 10, 2010

“I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,’ declares the Lord. Jeremiah 23:4

Shepherding the flock of God can be hard, frustratingly difficult and demanding. It is a challenge to serve one boss, much less dozens or even hundreds of bosses. The servant shepherd is expected to teach God’s word with new insight and relevant application. He is to attend every meeting, raise capital campaign funds, kiss the babies, relate to the youth and have a perfect, pretty, personable and passionate wife who can play the piano.

His children are instantly obedient. He is engaging in conversation, easy on the eyes, physically fit and intelligent. He rushes to the hospital for the sick, mediates conflict, counsels couples, marries, buries, baptizes and is available at anyone’s beckoning call. The loving pastor loves the lost. He comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.

Even Jesus did not do all of this, as He placed limitations on His life. He had down time. He took retreats. He prepared. He focused on a few. He taught with authority, because He had been in communion with His heavenly father. Indeed, having super servant shepherd expectations are sinful. The servant shepherd may need to repent of chasing these never to be fulfilled demands, and the flock need not expect a Messiah as a minister.
Jesus said, “The world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me” (John 14:31). Obedience to God is priority one.

The true servant shepherd is called and appointed by God. It is a divine placement. A new minister is more than likely unlike your last pastor. He looks differently, acts differently, leads differently and speaks differently. Don’t be cruel and hold over him the positive qualities from the last minister. He will never be just like the last pastor, but will mature into the leader God has uniquely gifted him to be, so give him space to grow.

As a servant shepherd, stay close to Christ. Get your marching orders from Him and lead with humility and grace. Fear God only and serve people patiently. There are times to make hard decisions that may cost you money and people. And there are times to die to your desires and trust God with the consensus of other Spirit-led leaders.

The heart of a servant shepherd seeks God’s will first and foremost and then validates the Lord’s will with godly counsel. Your hope and acceptance are in Christ. People will let you down, but not Jesus. It is a heavenly honor to shepherd the flock of God, so do not take it lightly, or too seriously. God and His people want you, love you and pray for you.

Moreover, parishioners love their servant shepherd. Shower him with prayers and written notes of gratitude. Make him rest. Don’t think too highly of him, or too lowly of him. Love his wife. As a servant shepherd you are God’s man, so lead the sheep by serving the sheep. Church men and women follow the shepherd with trust and respect. Most of all let everyone focus their undivided devotion on the Great Shepherd: the Lord Jesus Christ!

“May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21).

Do I regularly pray for my Pastor to be encouraged in the Lord by His word?

Related Readings: Psalm 78:71; Isaiah 40:11; Matthew 9:36; Revelation 7:17

Boyd Bailey is the author of Wisdom Hunters daily devotional and two devotional books, Infusion and Seeking Daily the Heart of God

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