Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Where's the Sheep?

Jeremiah 23:4
I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing." Declares the Lord.

Watching over sheep can be a challenging job because sheep are prone to wander. If you have ever taken the time to observe sheep you will notice they eat with their heads down which causes them to wander into dangerous territory without even realizing they've stayed away from the flock. Their only saving grace is that they have shepherds who watch over them to 1)go after them when they stray 2) protect them from predators 3) help them when they are injured 4) feed them when they are hungry 5) love on them when they are afraid.

The problem is not the sheep. Sheep are going to be sheep. Sheep wander. Sheep get in trouble. Sheep get scared. The problem is not the sheep the problem is that Shepherds aren't being Shepherds.

God tells Jeremiah in Chapter 23, verse 2, "Because you (shepherds) have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done. It's evil not to watch over the sheep. It's evil not to know the condition of the sheep.

It's time for real shepherds to rise up and care for the flocks. A shepherd can effectively watch around 200 sheep, therefore the more sheep you have the more shepherds you need. The larger the church the more shepherds you need on the leadership team. What frustrates the sheep is when they focus on one shepherd and don't receive care from the other shepherds on the team. Notice God says, I will place SHEPHERD(s) over them. We have been stuck with an old paradigm that there is only one shepherd in any given church. What frustrates the shepherd is when he or she tries to live out this unrealistic paradigm. That's why Jethro all the way back in the Old Testament had to save Moses from this deadly paradigm of ministry when he was single handedly trying to lead close to a million people out of Egypt into the promised land.

Exodus 18:17-21 (New International Version)

17 Moses' father-in-law replied, "What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people's representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20 Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform. 21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.

Small group leaders, bible study teachers, ministry leaders, campus pastors are all shepherds who are under the Sr. Pastor who is under the Chief Shepherd Jesus. You have been gifted to help watch the sheep and are here to help your pastor get those lost sheep back where they belong. Maybe the question is not where's the sheep but where is the shepherd? Look in the mirror this morning it might be you.

Dear God, help us to effectively care for your sheep. Raise up more shepherds so that we can reach those who've strayed away or have been driven away. Use me to be your shepherd to help my lost brothers and sisters to find their way back home. Lord send us more shepherds after your heart.

In Jesus Name,

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