Monthly Archives: January 2017

Who’s Your Shepherd?

I am the Good Shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.  John 10:11

In drinking in the truth of Jesus as the Good Shepherd while studying John 10, I’m freshly gripped by the truth that Jesus IS the ONLY Good Shepherd. 

Most of you may be thinking, well of course He is.  But I’m saying to you, no, He REALLY is.  All too often we see leaders,  pastors or someone who has impacted our life as our Good Shepherd.  No one is the Good Shepherd except Jesus. 

Take a peek with me at Ezekiel and see what we can glean from chapter 34.  The Lord is addressing the shepherds of Israel and saying Woe to you who only take care of yourselves.  He then goes out to list all the things the shepherds didn’t do to care for their flock.

  • Shepherds clothed themselves and didn’t take care of the flock
  • Shepherds didn’t strengthen the weak
  • Shepherds didn’t heal the sick
  • Shepherds didn’t bind up the injured
  • Shepherds didn’t bring back the strays
  • Shepherds didn’t search for the lost
  • Shepherds ruled harshly and brutally.
  • Shepherds didn’t go out and find the sheep who were scattered.

I look at this and my heart sinks.  Truth is we blow it!  While we try to care for others well, we unintentionally fall short.

 We are all guilty of not caring for those around us in some way or another

Whether you’re a mom, boss, ministry leader, teacher, pastor or in any way responsible for caring for others, these shepherding responsibilities are for you too.  I remember telling a  friend of mine after hearing how others hurt her, “I would never hurt you” and really meaning it.  Guess what, I did.  It was awful and humbling.

The Lord continues in Ezekiel 24 stating He will hold the shepherds accountable for failing to shepherd the sheep and that He Himself will be their Shepherd.  This is good news!  Let’s look at what God does for His sheep.

  • God will search for his sheep
  • God will look after his sheep
  • God will rescue his sheep
  • God will gather his sheep
  • God will bring the sheep into their own land
  • God will tend his sheep in a good pasture
  • God will search for the lost and straying sheep
  • God will bind up the injured sheep
  • God will strengthen the weak sheep
  • God will shepherd with justice
  • God will judge between his sheep
  • God will save his flock
  • God will make a covenant of peace with his sheep

Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, does all of this for every one of us perfectly!  He is the one to whom we must listen and follow.  When we embrace this truth of Jesus as the only Good Shepherd, we will look to Jesus to lead us, guide us and go only where He leads.  We’ll find ourselves less disappointed with leaders, friends, churches and pastors because while God so often speaks through them, we won’t be hinging our steps on them.

This passage brings both a warning and freedom.  We are held accountable for how we care for others.  Don’t kid yourself ~ it definitely matters to God how you treat people.  Freedom points all to the One Good Shepherd.

If you’re a leader longing for people to follow you, you’re setting yourself up to a standard you can’t keep.  It’s not about leaders, it’s about Jesus.  Good leaders lead people to Jesus, the only Good Shepherd.

When we find ourselves frustrated with people, we may want to ask ourselves “are we looking to them for what only the Good Shepherd can give?”   If so,  run into the loving arms of the Good Shepherd! He will faithfully lavish His perfect care on you like no one else can.

We’re Supposed to be Different

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.  ~ 1Corinthians 12:27

As I dwell on the illustration Paul gives in 1Corinthians 12:12-31, I’m captivated by the brilliant design of the body of Christ.  The uniqueness and function of each part illuminates God’s power, creativity and glory.

Chew on this with me.  Think how different each body part is.  Our hearts look, act, and function nothing like the lungs, yet both are desperately needed for a body to live.  How about the foot and ear?  Functioning so differently, yet what we hear impacts where our feet walk.  Parts of the body sprawled out individually don’t look like much, but together they make this wonderful masterpiece created by God.

Why, with the illustration so clear in scripture, is there this tension to make us look the same?  Even in churches that claim be friendly, there is a belief beyond Jesus as the way, truth and life that’s required; a mindset, or you don’t fit in.    As I wrestle this out in my own depraved heart and mind I come to the realization; body parts function so well together because they do one thing…their part.

While every part is vastly different, all function because of one mind.  The head is mighty and powerful and it tells the body what to do in perfect harmony.  Jesus is the head of His body, the Church and He is the one who tells each part what to do when and how.  When we’re functioning as God purposed, it’s not just powerful, but beautiful…the sweetness of unity!

While many things contribute to the breakdown of unity and malfunctioning of the body,  three stand out above the rest.

  1. Jesus isn’t the head. When individuals or churches want to be head of the Church, you will find disunity.  When we exalt anything over the name of Jesus division will follow.  Little tower of Babel’s don’t make for a unified body of Christ.
  2. Pride. When we’re dogmatic about secondary issues, we’re headed for division. There is no perfect individual or church.  Some may function healthier in certain seasons, but none are perfect and able to perform outside their intended purpose.
  3. Envy. Stop wanting what God has given to others so you can receive what He’s given to you.  If our stomach wanted to be a lung, we’d be in trouble!  Likewise, when we’re envious of others, we’re hurting the body and missing out on the glorious part God has for each of us.

Take a minute to check your heart.  Do you think people should think, respond, and act like you?  Do you discount or discredit people or churches in Jesus name because they function differently?  This illustration is convicting.  As we ponder, may our eyes be open to the importance of fixing them on Jesus and doing our part for the glory of God and the good of the body.

The human body is incredibly fascinating!  What it can accomplish is beyond what we could imagine.  Maximizing this potential as the bigger body of Christ comes together under Jesus….unstoppable!