WHO TAKES CARE OF THE SHEEP?
I will not primarily write about animals, but will mention some stories about sheep and shepherds and use that as comparisons with human beings.
I participate in a prayer group where we pray for leaders in the Body of Christ. Many congregations are lacking shepherds to take care of the members. Some shepherds are gathering the sheep around themselves and their own ministry. The focus of the church is similar to the spiritual gifts of the leader. If he or she has a gift of signs and wonders, the focus will be on miracles. If he or she is an evangelist, the focus will be to win people for the kingdom. If a shepherd has the gifts of healing, one might focus too much on sicknesses and a few churches are almost functioning as hospitals. This is not so often.
Let us look at the shepherd David, the one who later became king. He had fought against lions and bears. He did so to protect the sheep. The task of the shepherd is not to protect oneself, but the sheep. I also believe that that is what a pastor should do. I believe that a pastor should see the members of his church. If the church is big, they need more pastors. A shepherd is the same as a pastor and he or she should care for the sheep, love them and be willing to give his life for the sake of the sheep. There are only a very few countries where a real lion or bear is a danger for the church, but the devil might act in the same way or hide behind sheepskin. Just think of all the congregations that are destroyed because of divisions, jealousy and gossip. Others have compromised with the Word of God and the world crept more and more into the congregation. Other pastors have allowed people with controlling spirits to get positions of power and where they use their power in a wrong way. What does the pastor do when he sees the people suffering? Does he close his eyes or does he offer his help? If the problem is too big for him to handle, does he recommend adequate help?
Jesus asked His disciple Peter if he loved him. Peter answered that he naturally loved Him. Jesus said that if he really did, he should feed His lambs and take care of them. (John 21:15-18) I interpret this to mean that the love for Jesus leads us to give good food from the Word of God. A shepherd is seeking for pastures full of good and nourishing food for his sheep. I will share a story from a friend of mine. She had been in a place in the north of Sweden. The sheep should get out to the good pasture in the beginning of the summer. A neighbor had allowed them to pass his house and territory before they reached their final destiny. All the sheep passed the window where she slept. When they had reached their final destiny, they had made a lot of sound for hours. Every mother was calling for her own sheep and every mother had her own voice and language. The shepherd was carrying the lambs that could not walk themselves. We can learn many things from this story. One is that the neighbor was willing to help. How often is a church willing to help another church to grow and get better? The shepherd took care of the weak ones and the mothers called on their own lambs to take care of them. The Bible says that we should know the voice of the Shepherd. Jesus is called the Good Shepherd. We can read about this in John 10. Do you know the voice of the Shepherd? Many do not know the difference between the different voices. How does the Good Shepherd speak? First and foremost through His Word, the Bible and it says that He speaks from depth to depth. There are so many voices today and I can understand that it is difficult to separate one from another. The more we are with the Lord, the easier it is to know when He speaks. When my daughters lived at home, they could almost tell with whom I was speaking over the phone. They could hear it on my voice. I also believe that the Lord uses a different voice towards us, His children than what He did t the Pharisees.
I also have another story about sheep. I was many years ago in the mountains, attending a Christian conference. The sheep were sent higher up to a perfect place to stay over the summer. The problem was that every night they came back to the farm disturbing everybody with all the noise. I asked the person responsible for the sheep why this could happen. They lack a leading sheep, she said. I was reminded of the scripture from the prophet Joel that the Spirit should fall on all flesh. Sheep are definitely flesh, I thought and I started to pray. I asked the Holy Spirit to fall on one of the sheep and anoint him or her to be the leading sheep. It didn’t take more than half and hour before I saw one of the sheep took his leading role and the rest made a formation and followed the leading sheep. They stayed away the entire summer.
Some congregations have demonic control. In others we find chaos since there is a lack of leaders. God is a god of order. In Norway we celebrate our national day by parading. It would be chaos if we didn’t make lines and decided how many in each line.
In Luke 15 we read a parable about a farmer having 100 sheep. When one had disappeared, he left the 99 to find the one that was lost. I believe that Jesus talked about apostate people. He is saying that there is great joy in heaven when a sinner repents. We read about the prodigal son in the same chapter. He found his way home.
KEEP CLOSE TO THE SHEPHERD AND PRAY FOR SHEPHERDS IN THE CHURCHES!