Feed my Sheep, Feed my Lamb and Feed Yourself

Much has been written about a recent trend of “successful” and perhaps more entrepreneurial pastors expanding their reach to bless a wider group through books, talking tours and nationwide conferences. Many say it may not be God asking them to separate for as long as they do from the assembly in the local church and, as seen in some scenarios, even resigning thriving pastorates to respond to the call through other ventures.

Christianity Today wrote recently in an article of many like Francis Chan, Jim Belcher, N. T. Wright and, now Rob Bell, leaving local church pastorates, some of which were churches they themselves had planted for what seems like more lucrative full-time conference and book ministry.  It would appear that the local pastorate can provide an excellent platform that paves way for a broader more exciting and financially rewarding foray that does not require the tough ethical and doctrinal accountabilities (hassles) shepherding demands of the weary pastor whether in a small church or as part of a larger denomination. The sheep need a pastor to see Christ in and mentoring to maturity.  As pastors leave, what happens to the sheep of Christ.  Who will visit the unlovable in an era of do-it-yourself Christianity … and who will watch day and night in prayer over the careless?

The sheep may appear to have found new online savvy but they cannot see Christ as well on a podium or on a TV screen or on a blog as when they can feel the life of their pastor in his marriage, home and in how he masters challenges and defeats demons resisting him. In reality, the sheep want to be visited, heard and encouraged sometimes when the shepherd is exhausted and close to a nervous wreck battling his own challenges.

John 21[15]  … Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. [16]  He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. [17]  He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Jesus spoke to Simon Peter and asked if he loved Him more than “these”. “These” would be fame, money, acclaim, ease, comforts, lofty personal aspirations and agenda.  If the answer is yes, then go and carry and feed the young silly sheep (lambs) and also their older sometimes unpredictable prickly parents. Christ needs those who love Him to pastor the sheep where He sends them – and remain there.

Pastoring as Christ ordained cannot be as thrilling as many would want it to be otherwise Christ will not repeat himself in three different sentences that the evidence of love for Him will be the patient duty of carrying the weak and rescuing the undeserving perishing. Feeding sheep includes staying awake to protect them from wolves, running to the cliffs to rescue some from falling headlong, helping to free the young unheeding lamb caught in a rough thicket, bringing out one that has fallen into a ditch, finding good pasture – leading and helping the thirsty to the quiet streams for a refreshing drink.  This will require both the rod and staff as teaching tools – not just power-point and jazzy multimedia.

The elegant and sophisticated Egyptians despised Shepherds and looked down at them, considering them to be the inferior of men … they typically earned the lowest wages and stayed outdoors and were smelly.

Genesis 46[34]   … for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.

The modern day shepherd has fared much better, and the pastor will have found many other pastimes on the internet, writing, touring, doing nationwide seminars – earning millions of dollars from a gift that a wider audience will pay for.  Is this not part of the call and is God  against rich and famous pastors?  Surely not.

Sheep in recent times have also become more risky to handle, and many wolves in sheep clothing have devoured not just other sheep but less discerning shepherds … and some may ask in their low moments – am I called to this.  Christ does not ask everyone to feed His sheep, only those who have been given the rare grace to love Him more than “these”.

Or perhaps Christ should have said  “Feed my lamb, feed  my sheep…and feed yourself”

( Published in The Christian Post )

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Share

Reversing Recession

Sam Kputu writes… “This is what the Lord Almighty says: Take heart and finish the task! You have heard what the prophets have been saying about building the Temple of the Lord Almighty ever since the foundation was laid. Before the work on the Temple began, there were no jobs and no wages for either people or animals. No traveller was safe from the enemy, for there were enemies on all sides. I had turned everyone against each other. But now I will not treat the remnant of my people as I treated them before, says the Lord Almighty. For I am planting seeds of peace and prosperity among you. The grapevines will be heavy with fruit. The earth will produce its crops, and the sky will release the dew. Once more I will make the remnant in Judah and Israel the heirs of these blessings” – Zechariah 8:9-12, NLT

RECESSION, THE ONE WORD HAS SHOT TO THE FORE OF EVERY NATION, BUSINESS AND FAMILY; and that irrespective of whether they fully understand the meaning or not. The word has come to paint a picture of pain and dread – stock crashes, business closures, job losses, income depreciation and debt burdens. Economists worldwide are caught gaping as to where they all got it wrong. And like cancer or the HIV/AIDS epidemic, no one is sure of the cure.

But quite typical of every phenomenon, it is so easy to view recession just in terms of economics; recession occurs also in the emotional and spiritual realms. After all, what is recession is not a decline in growth and output? So when, as believers, we no longer love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength; when we lose our “first love” for the Lord, we are experiencing a spiritual recession. And when our hearts no longer find joy and excitement in our relationships, especially our covenant relationships, we must be experiencing emotional recession. We need a stimulus plan, the Bible calls it REVIVAL!

There are as many causes of economic recession as there are economic theories. But recession, economic recession, wherever it occurs in the Bible days was attributable to three main things:

  • Wicked, ungodly and corrupt leadership in a nation (1Kings 17-18; 2Kings 6, 7)
  • Unfaithful stewardship on the part of God’s people (Haggai .1:1-11)
  • God’s judgement on either or all of the above (2Sam.24:1-13)

And so, recession is never just a measure of economic indices, it is also usually a measure of God’s pulse towards a people, especially for those nations and people that lay claim to His name. The consequences, like those of sin, may spread to others but the root cause could be traced to God’s verdict on our stewardship of power, responsibilities and resources.

How then do we reverse recession be it economic, emotional or spiritual?

The Bible offers two prescriptions: REPENTANCE and FAITHFULNESS…

  1. When our love for God begins to wane, the Bible enjoins us to repent and return to our first love – Rev.2:4,5
  2. Whenever we run short of joy, we must look into our lives and see where we have fallen short of the glory of the Lord – Psalm 51:10-12, KJV
  3. Whenever economic recession sets in, it’s time to labour for national repentance and individually  re-examine our stewardship of our God –given resources (2Chron.7:11-14; Prov.3:9,10; Haggai 1:7,8)
  4. Lean times must not be mean times, we must learn to sow generously in good deeds and invest heavily  “offshore” (in God’s kingdom) –  “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves.  Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be” – Matthew 6:19-21, NLT

This post was originally published in Sept. 15, 2009 by buti Sam KPUTU – a guest author on this blog. Sam has a passion for the Lord, His word and His world. His desire is to see God’s word’s taught simply, believed entirely, lived practically and shared powerfully by God’s people to as many in God’s world that are yet without the basic truth of the word. Sam and Roli, his wife, serve as missionaries with CAPRO MISSIONS, a leading African missionary organization, and are currently based in Pretoria with 2 of their 3 children – Wase, Ruby and Robert. Sam is also on the International Faculty of the Haggai Institute.  See more articles on Sam’s blog Basic Truth

Tithing … still relevant?

I have also summarised below the emerging trends to date from the poll you may have particpated in…

Malachi 3[8]  Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. [9]  Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. [10]  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it . [11]  And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. [12]  And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.

Matthew 23 [23]  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

God bless you

Bode

Go to Authorhouse Bookstore

Buy Wealth out of ashes

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Share