Summary: The Motivation, Manner & Reward of Being An Elder.
Of Sheep & Shepherds
Commercial currently airing that shows a lonely shepherd with a cell phone. As he makes a phone call, those he calls begin arriving in droves, until he surrounded by 100s of people.
Wonder how many real shepherds spend a lot of time on a cell phone? Lonely!
As Phillip Keller said in his book, “A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23”, to a great extent the Bible is couched in rural terminology, dealing with outdoor subjects and natural phenomena.
Today this is not the case. Many who read & study the scriptures come from an urban, man-made environment. City folk are unfamiliar with livestock, crops, land, fruit and wildlife.
Because of this we may miss some scriptural insight.
On t/other hand, using nature to tell of the Kingdom of God, is really the only way of being able to communicate to all people, for all times.
If Jesus strictly used the customs & urban lifestyle of His days, all those removed from his time by even a generation or two, would be lost.
Warren Wiersbe said this about sheep and shepherds:
A faithful shepherd not only protects his flock but he also leads them from pasture to pasture so they might be fed adequately. Shepherds would always search the new fields, before leading his sheep there.
He wanted nothing to harm his flock, so he checked for poisonous plants snakes, pits and dangerous animals.
Sometimes it would be necessary to seek out a wayward sheep & give it personal attention and so the shepherd must at times neglect the entire flock to tend to the needs of the one.
This indicates value.
If a sheep was too rebellious, the shepherd may have to discipline him in some way. If a sheep has a special need, t/shepherd may carry it in his arms, next to his heart. At the close of each day the faithful shepherd would examine each sheep to see if it needed special attention. He would anoint the bruises with healing oil & remove the briars from the wool. T/shepherd would know each of his sheep by name & understand the special traits of each one.
He concludes with this, it is not easy to be a shepherd of God’s people!
It is a task that never ends and that demands the supernatural power of God, if it is to be done correctly.
What about the sheep themselves, well since God calls us His sheep, think about these “sheep facts” and how they relate to us.
Sheep are animals who stay together. God’s people should be close.
Sheep are notoriously ignorant and tend to wander away, if they do not follow the shepherd. Aren’t we the same?
Sheep are defenseless, for the most part and need the protection of their
Shepherds. So too, t/church needs human leaders & Jesus Himself.
Sheep are very useful animals. Not only in their wool & milk, but also in reproduction - the flocks should increase in number.
It’s easy to see this parallel. We have abilities to offer & should produce other Christians, duplicating ourselves, in them.
My Grandfather was a shepherd during my childhood years. I marveled at how they responded to his voice, one call & they came running.
They knew he cared for them, providing their needs & they loved him.
I have mentioned before that I would imitate his voice with no success.
As I called, they would raise their heads nonchalantly as if to say, who do you think you are – because you sure aren’t our shepherd.
Sheep know their shepherds voice. If several shepherds brought their flocks, together, when 1 shepherd calls, his individual sheep come.
T/Bible tells about Jesus, the Chief Shepherd & it tells us of men, called elders, whose ministry is to shepherd the church.
Look at I Peter 5:1-4, “To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings & one who also will share in t/glory
to be revealed: be shepherds of Gods flock that is under your care serving as overseers--not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”
Peter, addresses elders as a fellow-elder.
Peter doesn’t give orders as an apostle, but as 1 called to similar responsibility to theirs, he encourages and urges them in devotion to duty.
Verse 1 tells us of t/Great Shepherd and the suffering He endured. But it also states the prize that is to be revealed.
Some want this verse to denote t/suffering & glory of serving as an Elder, but this doesn’t fit. It’s all about Jesus, His suffering & His glory.