They are God’s sheep. They are not your sheep or my sheep. But you and I have been given the stewardship care of God’s precious lambs.
I hope these words God spoken through the prophet Ezekiel don’t describe you. But may all of us pastors take them as a sober reminder of the weightiness of our role as the under-shepherds of God’s flocks…
Then this message came to me from the Lord: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds, the leaders of Israel. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord: What sorrow awaits you shepherds who feed yourselves instead of your flocks. Shouldn’t shepherds feed their sheep? You drink the milk, wear the wool, and butcher the best animals, but you let your flocks starve. You have not taken care of the weak. You have not tended the sick or bound up the injured. You have not gone looking for those who have wandered away and are lost. Instead, you have ruled them with harshness and cruelty. So My sheep have been scattered without a shepherd, and they are easy prey for any wild animal. They have wandered through all the mountains and all the hills, across the face of the earth, yet no one has gone to search for them.
“Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, you abandoned My flock and left them to be attacked by every wild animal. And though you were My shepherds, you didn’t search for My sheep when they were lost. You took care of yourselves and left the sheep to starve. Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I now consider these shepherds My enemies, and I will hold them responsible for what has happened to My flock. I will take away their right to feed the flock, and I will stop them from feeding themselves. I will rescue My flock from their mouths; the sheep will no longer be their prey.” (Ezekiel 34:1-10)
UPDATE: This post was one of the seed thoughts that went into fashioning my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter.