Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sheep for Slaughter: Warnings to Sheep

Recently I've been hearing about issues of pastors having conflicts with church leaders, pastors having conflicts with church members, and church leaders having conflicts with church members. It's like the church is in complete disarray. Funny thing is I am not surprised to hear all these, I have been expecting them actually. Because the problems of the Israelites then -- Old Testament time, are the same problems that we are facing now. These same problems have been reiterated over and over again through the different books in the Bible, and sadly now that we have the complete view of the Bible, we, like the Israelites, haven't learned from history. Solomon's very smart to say something like, "History repeats itself" in Ecclesiastes.

Go for a short adventure to Zechariah's little book, and jump to chapter 11. You would find there the heading, The Good and Evil Shepherds. When I was reading it, I couldn't help but utter, "This is sooo true" more than a couple of times. Because it is. It talks about pastors having no compassion for their flock and maybe some of them are even causing the flock to go astray. But before you sigh with discouragement and defeat, and decide to just leave your church, let me tell you something, don't sigh and don't leave...

In chapter 11, God used Zechariah as an illustration of God being the shepherd and Israelites being the flock. God removed the three unfit shepherds and placed Zechariah as a shepherd during a time of spiritual confusion. Later God used Zechariah to play two types of shepherds: the rejected shepherd and the worthless shepherd.

In v8 we see that God through Zechariah became impatient with His sheep because the flock fed on their own greed and evil desires. The sheep hated the shepherd, the sheep rejected the shepherd, and these made the shepherd vow in anger, "I won't be your shepherd any longer. If you die, you die. If you are killed, you are killed. And let those who remain devour each other."

Can you see the similarities of then and now? The church members and leaders reject our pastors. The church is more critical with the personality of the pastor than with applying what the pastor is really teaching. I don't think the pastors God has placed in our churches lacked compassion for the flock earlier in their ministry. It is the fault of the flock -- the church leaders and members -- who have grown to hate them. The church people who have not only rejected them but also looked down on them. Check verse 12. Zechariah asked his people how much he was worth to them. These people (his flock) said 30 pieces of silver -- this is an insult because this was the price paid for a slave.

Let me ask you..
How much is a pastor's worth to you?
How much respect do you have for a pastor?
How important are the messages coming from his mouth?

If you say little to no importance to at least one of the questions above, then I would understand full well if you do not feel any compassion from your pastor.

Moreover, if you are looking for a new shepherd, to become something like a.. umm.. Senior Pastor, just because you have rejected the current shepherds. BEWARE!!! You might just experience the second type of shepherd. I couldn't help but feel the remaining verses (15-17) is a prophecy. Israel would not only reject the true shepherd; it would accept instead a worthless shepherd. We might suffer the same fate.

I believe that pastors are given a burden to serve a particular flock by God. It is not their option to choose where and when they want to serve. I don't think anybody in his right mind would give up a high-paying corporate job to minister in the church unless God calls him to do so. It is ultimately God who places this pastor in a place that would fit His bigger masterplan. God sets the timing, the place and the pastor's heart for a ministry. But if the rebellious flock intentionally looks for a shepherd and provides him extrinsic motivation (only God can provide intrinsic motivation), then I would expect this shepherd to care for his own well-being. "This illustrates how I will give this nation a shepherd who will not care for those who are dying, nor look after the young, nor heal the injured, nor feed the healthy. Instead this shepherd will eat the meat of the fattest sheep and tear off their hooves."

If you are part of a flock that is ready for slaughter, why not work together with your pastor for common good -- God's good? He may not be the perfect shepherd, but He is still God's appointed one. Listen to him. Respect him. And instead of thinking what he can offer you, which is VERY selfish, think of what you can do to edify your shepherd who has a big responsibility.

Remember your pastor is not perfect and Satan works double time against him. Isn't it more reasonable for us to have double prayers than have double standards?

1 comment:

  1. Hello Achi Mitzi,

    I do hope people will realize what you wrote here is absolutely true. Like you, I am not surprised if the church is already in disarray. I do hope that with this people will realize the importance of the pastors God placed in our church. Also I do hope one day they will be OPEN for change.