March 16, 2022
The Year of our Lord Jesus Christ
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
Let anyone who desires to become a shepherd to God’s sheep be willing to do the same; that is give their life for the sheep. True, none can do this to the extent that Jesus did. He gave His physical life on the cross to purchase salvation for all who would believe. No other can do this. Yes, others can, have, and will, give their physical life in service to the Lord’s sheep, but they cannot give it in the context of saving their souls. Only Jesus can do that because only Jesus was the One who …was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15 Therefore He is the only suitable sacrifice for sins.
Yes, many have sacrificed their life for the service to the sheep that are in the Lord’s flock. There are at least three ways those who dedicate their lives to serve as “under shepherds” do this. One is financially. Financially they give of their lives. Instead of serving for money they serve for service sake forgoing the amount they could earn in temporal endeavors. Make no doubt many pastors could make much more money in the world’s employ than they can in full time ministry.
Two, they give their life physically, for they serve even at times to the detriment of their own health. Their dedication to the flock always comes first, even before their own health. Look at it like this. A parent that has two children whom they love and cherish would gladly and willingly rather suffer physically than to have their children suffer. The same is true with a true shepherd, only instead of two they have 100, 200, or more that they feel the same way about.
Three, they give their life socially. Time and space do not permit the full explanation of this point. Suffice it to say, as soon as a person is identified as a pastor the way they are treated changes. To fully understand this, it has only to be experienced.
In these three ways, shepherds give their lives for the sheep. But make no doubt, there is only one true Shepherd and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. He gave His perfect life for the sheep. There is no question about that. But there is a question about this: what type of life will the sheep give back to Him? After all, He who should have ever lived, died, so that they who should have ever died, can live. The true “under shepherds” are examples to the flock teaching them how to lovingly respond to the true Shepherd and Bishop of their souls. Just as Peter wrote in 1 Peter 5:3: Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. Their example is their life which speaks so much louder than their words.
Until Next Time,
William T. Howe, Ph.D.