Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Shepherding the Flock

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Phirography the shepherd's love
Normally when we consider what the Bible has to say about shepherds or elders we think of the New Testament.  Ezekiel is certainly not the first book that comes to most of our minds.  I was very surprised when reading Ezekiel chapter 34. Although this section of scripture is a prophecy against the shepherds of Israel, it not only reminded me of what a serious and difficult job today's elders have, but also of their humanity and the Good Shepherd's perfection.  

In Ezekiel 34, we learn of several responsibilities of Shepherds.  First we learn that they are responsible for feeding the flock (Ezekiel 34:2).  They are called to strengthen the sickly (34:4).  These men are responsible for searching for and bringing back the scattered (Ezekiel 34:4 & 8).   What a hefty load.  The shepherds of Israel failed to do as they were charged.  Rather than relying on God's strength, they were destroyed because they tried to rely on their human weaknesses.  Elders of the church today are called to many of the same tasks as those of which Ezekiel spoke.  Although some still give in to human failings, thankfully most of them rely on God for wisdom and strength to minister and lead the flock entrusted to them.  They follow the example of the "Good shepherd."  They feed the flock, strengthen the sick, and try to bring the scattered back to God (Ezekiel 34:15-16).  

I have been very blessed by some wonderful elders/shepherds over the years as I know many of the rest of you have.  Take time this week to lift the elders in your life up in prayer, and also to tell them what a great job you think they are doing.  They have a tremendous weight on their shoulders and a difficult but important job.  
Anyone reading this from JS in NM, hug your elders for me and thank them from the bottom of my heart.  I also can't help but think of some wonderful men in KS and those that I have met at Helene's home congregation.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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