Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: As surely as I live, declares the sovereign Lord, because my flock lacks a shepherd and son has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather thank for my flock, therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them. – Ezekiel 34:7-10
God puts some pretty strong words in Ezekiel’s mouth. It seems that God always holds the leaders to higher standards. Teachers are held accountable for their influence. Here, shepherds are as well. Maybe God knows that we all have the ability to turn inward. We start out the journey wanting to help others. Somewhere along the way we forget why we were so attracted to the kingdom in the first place. Wasn’t part of it, maybe most of it, this compelling desire to live outside ourselves?
How much have I strengthened the weak, healed the sick, searched for the lost? Maybe more than I think? I fear it is less than I think. “But, but, I don’t see any people that need that?” God says, “Look around. They are everywhere. On every mountain.” Why? Because in a shepherdless world, people have nobody to follow. They roam around. Silently hoping for a better way. Hoping for someone to lead them out. To chase them maybe. To gently remind them that they are of great value. Maybe a smile and a cup of coffee. Instead, all they see are shepherds begging for money to make their name famous. They see hypocrites and screamers. They see shepherds who are caring for themselves and few other. No wonder they are turned off to Jesus.
God, don’t let me be this kind of person. I have a natural desire to shepherd myself and take care of me. I realize that kind of living is outside your kingdom. I again commit to following you as a shepherd and ask that you teach me to shepherd others. May this life I live not be centered on what I desire, but on what you have created me to be. It is my desire to put you as complete center. When you take that place, you will be in for a fight. I have taken residence there. Please win.
[tags]life journaling, Bible, God, Jesus, serving, devotions, church, serving, selfishness[/tags]