I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep." So then, the responsibility of the shepherd is to direct, guide, supervise, oversee, train, enlighten, teach, nurture, feed, etc. Those are just a few of the shepherd's responsibilities. King David summed it up like this: The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. In essence, a shepherd's responsibility is to love and care for his flock. He never abandons those under his care.
Now, concerning those who call themselves pastors and shepherds, they are in reality under-shepherds. The question is, what is the meaning of the word under-shepherd? It is a lower-ranking shepherd who works under another shepherd. They are the substitute when the shepherd is away or preoccupied with other matters concerning the flock. But keep in mind, the shepherd at no time ever abandons the flock to another. The Lord Jesus made this statement concerning those who don't own the sheep and are just hired to be the under-shepherd. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
In most religious organizations and denominations, their pastors or shepherds are controlled by the deacon or trustee board. Sadly, the pastors don't have any real authority to make decisions and are mere puppets of the board. In the Kingdom, the Holy Spirit is the one who is leading and guiding the shepherd. He is the One who is speaking to His pastors and shepherds, not a man-made board of religious appointees. Listening to the Holy Spirit should be one of the greatest responsibilities of the pastors, certainly not cleaning the church. Do you recall what the Lord Jesus said to His disciple Peter? After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.
Please take note that the Lord Jesus stated "Feed My sheep". Those who say they are pastors and shepherds of the Lord Jesus the Christ, must remember that these are the Lord Jesus' people that they are feeding and protecting through the Word. In essence, they are undershepherds. They are to feed the people the Kingdom message, not what they think they want to hear; and not what will tickle their ears and keep them in the pews. Their responsibility isn't to please the congregation, but to feed His sheep. Those who stay because of the way a message makes them feel, will eventually fall away, for they have no roots and no real nourishment. They need to be taught the message of the Kingdom of God. People are actually hungry for the Kingdom message. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
A shepherd that is led by the Holy Spirit will consistently teach the Kingdom message and not abandon his flock to tend another flock. The Lord Jesus isn't a God of confusion or division. He is a King that is one with His Father God. May I add, He is a God of order. There are many shepherds today who are feeding the sheep junk food--empty food lacking in nourishment. The prosperity "gospel" is the Twinkies of the church today. It may taste good and make us feel good in the moment, but will not sustain or nourish the sheep. Just as people crave sweets and junk food that isn't good for them, they crave empty feel good messages that have no substance. In reality the sheep crave the nourishment of the Kingdom message that sustains them and grows them into mature citizens of the Kingdom; full of the Word of the Living God. The shepherd's responsibility is to lead the Lord's sheep to greener pastures; in other words, to embrace and seek the Kingdom as their number one priority. Remember, a shepherd or under-shepherd's responsibility is for the sheep's welfare.
John 10:10-11 Psalm 23 John 10:12-13; 21:15-17 Matthew 6:33-34 NLT
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