Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd
Paul had a radical encounter with Jesus! He was on his way to kill Christians on the road to Damascus when Jesus showed up with blinding light, and commissioned him with a call. Like anyone who has encountered and received the call of God, Paul’s life was radically changed, and his zeal for Judaism became focused on He who Judaism is fulfilled in and by, Jesus! Yes literally!
Paul begins his missionary journey to un-reached places to speak, point and present His Messiah.
This is a call of ours, we have all been called to Go! But Paul wasn’t simply an Evangelist, he was Gods mouth piece in so many ways, and today we need to heed The Holy Spirits Words through Him on how we are to not only share The Gospel, but how we are entrusted to shepherd, guide, and protect Jesus Sheep.
We live in a time when darkness is everywhere (2 Cor 4:4), and rightfully we should be reaching out to everyone to shine The Light of The Gospel, and lift up Jesus. We are all called to be evangelists. But, it isn’t only evangelism that directs, protects and shepherds Jesus Sheep.
This idea of shepherding and sheep is not a new idea, its found in Gods nature as He leads His people by Moses and Aaron. Psalm 77:20 You led Your people like a flock By the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Jesus continues this idea, referring to Himself as Their Shepherd, that His Sheep hear His Voice and follow Him (jn 10:27) and even telling Peter to “feed My sheep” (Jn 21:15-17).
Knowing then that the sheep are Jesus’s, a few thoughts:
“Do you view the sheep as yours, and take the liberty of deciding how many you need, where to take them, and what is best for them?”
“Have you counted the cost that we are hirelings entrusted with these so precious, that Jesus Himself went to The Cross, proving their value to Him?”
“Are you like He willing to leave the 99 to go after the 1 for the purpose of protection?”
“Are we aware they we will give an account for our service to Jesus, as we love His Sheep”?
If you see their value, understand Gods call for you, then not only are you positioned for God to download by Word and Spirit what you need to lead them, but you will truly find joy in your call to help shepherd them.
Paul encourages and challenges us in Acts 20:28. “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”
Take heed to ourselves? Count the cost for the call? “The Holy Spirit made you”? He goes on to speak about wolves attacking the flock, but the overall point is our being “overseers”.
In a time when the enemy tries to make even our ministries our idols, it’s good to stop and remember, “They are His Sheep, and we are serving Him and them”.
We often criticize how the Catholic faith idolized the saints, and exalted them so much. Even Paul spoke of the early church doing this with himself and Apollos, and he rebuked them. We today have began again look to modern day saints to idolize them. Their way of ministry, their gifting, their formulas. Though gleaning is good, and many ministries are doing things amazing, the essential question is “are Jesus Sheep being well fed, healthy and well protected?” The Church congregates to worship and fellowship as they grow into Christ!
Many mega congregations have the hardest time shepherding and it seems to have become a common thread that when there are too many people you can’t possibly shepherd them all. But Jesus won’t give you more than you can Shepherd, feed and protect. He won’t bring sheep in to remain sick or lost. If it feels that way ask for wisdom, He will give it. Even the Apostles raised up men so they could spend more time in “prayer and to the ministry of The Word” (Acts 6:4). Numbers can become the enemy is they are just numbers, not sheep. Remember that Jesus said He will add to the church, and He will use us in evangelism to do this. Evangelism is a natural bio-product of people who love Jesus telling people of who they love!
These thoughts stem from the other night as I lay in bed thinking of waking to serve at church the next day. The thought kept rolling around my head. “They are My Sheep”… As you go to church tomorrow, “They are My Sheep”, “as you step into deeper and deeper ministry, “they are My Sheep”. God was giving me an encouragement for every form of ministry from here on out. And its confirmed through out His Word. Pastor, Elder, Deacon, Bishop, Minister all are interchangeably used to “shepherd”, “to serve”, “to oversee”…
Waking up that next morning praying for “His Sheep”, some new ones to come home, sick ones to get better, and healthy ones to be encouraged, this alone was a great enough focus for the whole day. In fact, for life! And whats amazing is seeing God move as many did shepherd and serve His Sheep that Sunday.
As you are positioned wherever you may be today, does it all run through the call of your being called to “His Sheep”? Is there a protective heart, an eagerness for their growth, a fight for their future? The world sees greatness as being served by people, but Jesus sees greatness as serving people.
A good list to check as we are placed to serve His Sheep is in what Peter writes. Peter was specifically called to feed, and so…
1 Peter 5:1 The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: 2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
1. Not by compulsion! – Is it your honest joy? Only true love can lead this. Ministry without love is a job.
2. Not for dishonest gain! – Not compromising truth for personal agenda or position. Satan offered Jesus everything He really already owned, for the things that seemed relevant in the world. We are Christians already have what we need, and don’t need anymore or less.
3. Not lording position! – We can’t lord our position over someone, because now we are calling them to be subject to our position. They have to come willingly submit, and its in this that they serve. Our position is in fact only because we have better learned to serve, that we are an example to others. We ourselves must keep on serving.
4. Being an example! Our being in this position means we are expected to be an example. Our life is under a microscope. This is the upward call. Paul said “imitate me”, why? Because he strived to imitate Christ. The first person in Christianity you look at it Jesus, for direction, then yourself to see where you are, then the shepherds to consider where they are going and how they are doing.
Hebrews 13:7 Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.
Considering the outcome of “their conduct”. That means my life, my wife, my family, my walk, is all a witness. Transparency is essential in our walk. Paul said we are letters read by all men. This is the shepherds territory. The sheep look to see where to go and what to do.I always viewed this as what I can’t stand in a pulpit and say, I don’t need to be doing or have any part in.
Finally in this, here in will be our judgement and assessment. We won’t be at The Great White Throne judgement if we are in Christ, but we will be at the Bema seat before Jesus, and though sins our forgiven, we will give an account for our service of His People… If we serve for gain we will miss the sheep, but if we hear His Voice we will serve Him, His Sheep, and receive what He calls and empowers us to do.
God gives a timely word, and confirms it through His Word for the things He has before us. He tells us to judge ourselves by His Word (1 Cor 11:31), so we can reevaluate, confess and better follow.
He is at work in His people, and He may well be speaking to you today. If He is it is in Grace and Mercy and to encourage. Isaiah fell down in awe of how great God is, and then in such famous words said “Here am I, Lord send me”…Our call gets higher and higher as we go deeper and deeper. Of all you do today, go to Him, look for His Sheep, lead, direct, feed and protect them. We are blessed to receive this call.
Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.