Summary: In celebration of pastor recognition month, this message highlights the challenges of pastoring.
Zechariah 11: 4-17 "Thus said the Lord my God: “Become shepherd of the flock doomed to slaughter. 5 Those who buy them slay them and go unpunished; and those who sell them say, ‘Blessed be the Lord, I have become rich’; and their own shepherds have no pity on them. 6 For I will no longer have pity on the inhabitants of this land, says the Lord. Lo, I will cause men to fall each into the hand of his shepherd, and each into the hand of his king; and they shall crush the earth, and I will deliver none from their hand.”7 So I became the shepherd of the flock doomed to be slain for those who trafficked in the sheep. And I took two staffs; one I named Grace, the other I named Union. And I tended the sheep. 8 In one month I destroyed the three shepherds. But I became impatient with them, and they also detested me. 9 So I said, “I will not be your shepherd. What is to die, let it die; what is to be destroyed, let it be destroyed; and let those that are left devour the flesh of one another.” 10 And I took my staff Grace, and I broke it, annulling the covenant which I had made with all the peoples. 11 So it was annulled on that day, and the traffickers in the sheep, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the Lord. 12 Then I said to them, “If it seems right to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” And they weighed out as my wages thirty shekels of silver. 13 Then the Lord said to me, “Cast it into the treasury”[a]—the lordly price at which I was paid off by them. So I took the thirty shekels of silver and cast them into the treasury[b] in the house of the Lord. 14 Then I broke my second staff Union, annulling the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.15 Then the Lord said to me, “Take once more the implements of a worthless shepherd. 16 For lo, I am raising up in the land a shepherd who does not care for the perishing, or seek the wandering,[c] or heal the maimed, or nourish the sound, but devours the flesh of the fat ones, tearing off even their hoofs. 17 Woe to my worthless shepherd, who deserts the flock! May the sword smite his arm and his right eye! Let his arm be wholly withered, his right eye utterly blinded!
Real horrors vs. imagination horrors.
One of my indulgences is a TV series called American Horror Story. Yes, I do watch TV and cable, and social media, because it is my personal belief that in order to reach those within my territory, I’m must be not only biblically correct, theologically sound, but socially relevant. So I try to get my pulse on American pop culture so that I can meet people where they are and understand what they have been encounter outside of the ecclesiastical kingdom. I’m a tentmaker pastor and for the last fifteen years of my pastorate, I’ve endeavored to minister to people beyond the pews. So as I indicate, in keeping my pulse on our pop culture, there is a TV Emmy award winning show call American Horror Story. And each year since its inception, they’ve used horror as an allegory for the real tragedies that have plague humanity be it, infidelity and divorce, mental illness and electroshock therapy, missing children and human trafficking, the Jewish holocaust and slavery, incest and date rape, and all these everyday demons we witness and do not address. And it is the sense of allegory that strikes my interest because (if the truth be told) our imaginary monsters are only allegories for real situations that threaten and scare us on a daily basis. For our harsh reality in America, every day is becoming less of a treat and more of a trick because Satan’s arrows are bombarding us on every side. It just seems like each day, we witness new levels in the depth of depravity within our humanity. Our nightmares are manifesting themselves into everyday challenges: Mass murderers turning on co-workers in the workplace, like Michael Myers. Our own children slashing other children, like ‘little chucky. And Dracula is just another name for the gas attendant that sucks your wallet at the gas pump. Every day, we are confronted with horrors. “The Night of the Living Dead” is just another Monday morning head to dead-end jobs. The return of the werewolf is just your abusive spouse coming back home from work. And the bride of Frankenstein is just your baby mama, looking for child support. Monsters, Goblins and demons, are just an allegory for the real things that frighten us: