After seeing a post on another social site I have been experiencing a resurrection of an inner churning, or maybe I should call it a yearning, to see true shepherds in the house of GOD in the time we now live in. It is amazing when we consider all the people that are preachers who travel from meeting to meeting many of whom are pastors of some congregation. There is more preaching today than ever! I wonder what would the Apostles Peter and Paul think if they could see the Christendom scene of the 20th and 21st Century church. There is TBN (Trinity Broadcast Network), The Word Network (which I’ve been told by an inside source isn’t owned by believers) and a plethora of programming on various other networks who fit the preaching of the word of GOD in between their regular programming (particularly on Sunday).
It is an awesome time to witness being able to share the Gospel of the LORD JESUS around the global simultaneously and ubiquitously. All faith starts with preaching as the bible tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the [preached] word of GOD (Romans 10:17 para). The preaching of the cross is the “power of GOD to them who are saved” but “foolishness to them that perish” (1 Corinthians 1:18 ref). Preaching is imperative to the development of the believer as it serves as essential sustaining motivation to aid in keeping the believer’s eye stayed on the Cross of CHRIST especially in turbulent times. Preaching is absolutely necessary!
This entry is not to point out a problem with “preaching”, which is why I thought it necessary to first establish that preaching is indeed important for the growth and sustaining of the church. What I’d like to dare to venture into is a analyzing glance at a doldrums in the activity of “watching over GOD’s people”. In the book of Ezekiel the prophet receives a charge to serve the pastors over GOD’s flock Israel. The sovereign GOD tells Ezekiel, “2.Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? 3.You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. 4.You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. 5.So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. 6.My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.” (Ezekiel 34:2-6)
In the text Yahweh was referring to the shepherds over the people Israel and stating what they should have been, what they have been and what they will be when the Good Shepherd shall appear.
Today, the case is much the same in so many instances as it was in the provided text from chapter 34 of Ezekiel. Even in light of all the preaching that people have access to there is more failing than there is lack of audio, video and literary material providing the preached Gospel of JESUS CHRIST. Today, people are not drawn away because of mass persecutions against the church. More than ever we read and hear of stories about faith-heroism in 3rd world and communist countries among believers that are facing threats and persecutions because of their faith in JESUS CHRIST. In the United States the Body of CHRIST suffers from top heavy ministries with puny foundations as it relates to watching over the flock of GOD.
There are times when sheep go astray and the shepherd has to venture out into dangerous places to recover the lost. I’ve heard it said time and time again when hearing of someone that has left the church that “they just didn’t want to be saved”. In some cases there are a few people that make up in their mind that the holiness lifestyle or culture is just not for them; but far too often there are people that began to have issues in their life and there was no watchman sounding an alarm. I’ve often heard leadership refer to the scripture in Hebrews where it states “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves…” (Hebrews 13:17 ref) when calling for believers to revere the office of pastor, which everyone should; among various circles I have had the privilege of fellowship with, I have rarely heard the critique of the lack of covering the flock as a reason why some are stolen away in the mouths of wild beast of the field. This challenge is not a bash against pastors who preach, teach and watch over the flock of GOD with a servants heart, no! This is something that I hope you view as a “shake me up” for those who do not cover the flock nor do they watch and sound the alarm when the sword comes (Ezekiel 33:6) leaving the flock to fend for themselves beyond the preached word.
Unfortunately, many people in Christian leadership positions do not disciple those in their congregation nor do they engage interventions in people’s lives who sit under their charge. As a result of lethargic or self-comfort seeking ministerial lack of activity the people’s lives are littered with casualties. The destroyer comes with the sword, and as a ballplayer needing a coach because of their limited view of the field many believers are “taken in their sin” (Ezekiel 33:6) because there was no intervention or spiritual voice while they were in a valley experience.
We live in a nation where personal responsibility is scarcely embraced and blame is frequently attributed to others for the mess that we ourselves are in. In the Church of the living GOD there is personal responsibility on both sides that often gets swept under the rug. This is not a ploy to propose that the layperson bears no responsibility in straying from a lifestyle of sanctification but a highlighter to admonish those who may fit the description of having a ministry that has much to be desired in the way of being a watchman over souls sounding the alarm when the sword of the destroyer is in sight and engaging the flock committed to their charge–not to Preach Only!