A Call to Shepherd
– “Is it too slight a thing for you that you should feed in the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pastures? Or that you should drink of the clear waters, that you should foul the rest with your feet? As for My flock, they must eat what you tread down with your feet, and they must drink what you foul with your feet!”
This quote is found in Ezekiel 34:18 and 19. This passage is dealing with shepherds who are not caring for their sheep in the way that God has called them. Too often in the past I have read through this, said, “amen, get them Ezekiel” and went on my merry way. In reality, all of us have a flock to shepherd. In reality, I am just as accountable as my pastor to shepherd the flock that I have been given. My flock may seem slight to some, but it is the flock that I have been entrusted with and God expects me and has enabled me to shepherd them under His leadership. Just so we are clear, I am NOT a pastor, but some of my flock includes two boys, a group called the W.M.U. at our church and a homeschool group that I help in a nearby community. This blog community is a flock as well. ANY area that God has given us ANY type of influence is our flock.
So many times I have set my alarm early so that I could get a word from God, but then as the day has wore on I have not cared what others around me have eaten from God’s Word. As long as I have been fed, all is well. I confess I have been okay with that. I have felt that as long as “me and mine” are filled and healthy (physically and spiritually) then all is well. After all, I’m a very busy person and I have my own to think of, right? I never realized until this morning that sometimes I have been guilty of trampling the pasture of others around me so that all they get are muddy leftovers. I have been guilty of fouling up the Living Water that should be offered cleanly through me to others. I have a God-given responsibility to shepherd the flock that God has given me. As I picture Ezekiel 34:18-19 once again, I see how often God has led me to the still water and green pasture as described in Psalm 23, but what have I done? I have stewed and worried and fretted about things that He has already taken care of. Instead of being an encouragement to someone, I have muddied the water. I have trampled the green into a muddy mess. I think of times when our pastor has given us a goal and I’m already making excuses for not reaching the goal. I think of times when someone has told me about a health situation and I tell them doctor’s recommendations instead of covering them in prayer and sending them Scripture throughout the situation. Stomp, stomp, stomp. Trample, trample, trample.
More so than our obvious flocks, we also have a responsibility to the flock at large. Ezekiel 34:1-8 describes God’s view on shepherds who have not helped the broken and searched for the lost. It is NOT good. He expects US shepherds to go in search for the lost sheep, to nurture and support the diseased and broken. It is not certain shepherd’s responsibilities. It is all shepherds’ responsibility to do so.
I am left with several questions to ponder today. The first one, “Do I realize that I am a shepherd? Do I know that God is conforming me into the image of His Son who was and is the Great Shepherd?” My flock looks different than anyone else’s, but that doesn’t mean I am not a shepherd. Do I understand that in the core of my being?
Secondly, “Am I muddying the water for others?” In other words, as long as I am getting filled do I still care about others? Am I leading my flock to drink, or stirring up a mess? Am I encouraging others or, stomping their nourishment into the ground?
Thirdly, “What am I going to do about it?”
As we ponder these questions today, let us pray that God would reveal to us the flocks that we have been entrusted with. Let’s pray that as God reveals our spheres of influences that we would take the leadership role that He has designed for us and follow our Shepherd to the still waters of each moment. As we are being led, let us remember that we have a line of sheep following in our path. Precious sheep that our Savior chose to die for. Let us also remember that there are other sheep that are not following, but need to be tended and searched for.
Let us stop trampling the green pasture. Let us eat freely in the arms of our Shepherd trusting that the grass is not greener on the other side, but knowing that peace is found only in His Presence, and may we shepherd others to do the same.