It seems like something is happening in the world of Christendom lately. So many ministers are jetting across the country in private jets, living lavishly, and giving little in return. We need to pray for the leaders of our churches to live simple lives, pouring themselves out for the sheep, instead of profiting off of them.
I was reading Ezekiel 34 today and I couldn’t help thinking about how the role of pastor has changed in the last 100 years. Our country used to be spotted with small community churches. Ministers knew their sheep, ate dinner with them, and prayed for their members by name.
I can’t help but think of Joel Osteen, who has one of the largest churches in the country/world. He preaches prosperity in a time of economic hardship. He does not KNOW his sheep, and yet he profits off them greatly. It is a business. He is a celebrity.
But now we have mega churches becoming the new sign of success and blessing. And yet, how can a minister fulfill his duty to the body when he needs binoculars to see the back pew?
I do not think all large churches are unhealthy–but I think the minister needs to be very careful that the sheep are tended with love and care. He needs to take time to get to know the people as best as he can. To spend time with the congregation. To ask Jesus to pour even more love through him. He also needs to be careful not to live large off the fleece.
Ezekiel 34– The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock?3 You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock.4 You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. 6 My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.
7 “‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so 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 than for my flock, 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 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 that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.
11 “‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.
BREAK US LORD
May your shepherds be busy tending sheep,
not building mega churches.