As a pastor, my job is to care for the flock as a shepherd would care for their sheep. I am to protect, feed, sheer, seek after the lost, help mend and heal wounds, and guard the gate of the sheep pin. The main way I accomplish this is through the Bible. I teach people the Bible, not teach the Bible to people. (Some of you will figure that out shortly.) In the midst of the confusion and chaos of what our nation is going through following the death of George Floyd I find myself torn a bit. I would see one friend post something and then another friend post something opposite. Social media demands I pick a side. I will pick a side, but not the one everyone wants me to.
Sunday, I preached that critical theory was a major danger to the gospel and simply being in a oppressive group did not make someone a racist, rather, it is the actions of people that counted. That didn’t go over well. I posted my #BlackOutTuesday square in recognition that racism and police brutality does occur and I lost friends. A few days later I decided to accidentally on purpose trigger (that means to make someone mad) some more people. I posted a video of a African-American preacher who claimed that everyone has a responsibility in the discussion on racism and I lost more friends. I had discussions with people all throughout the week; family, friends, young and old. Every time I opened my mouth or pressed “post” on social media I lost. Don’t worry about me, I’m not in it to please people.
I have picked a side. It’s not the left or right, white or black, republican or democrat, conservative or liberal. I’ve decided to pick my Savior Jesus and His word which is the only thing I believe can change the hearts of people. I’ve decided to just go back and be a shepherd again.
As a shepherd I will…
Care for the Flock: I’m going to be there for you. I’m not going to leave you in the field and go back to the Father’s house. I will sleep out in the field and pin with you. I will listen to you and hear your concerns hurts and heartaches. You can vent to me anytime you need to.
Protect the Flock: I will warn you when I see dangers coming. Whether these dangers are bad theology or philosophy sneaking up on you or you are so busy grazing in worldly pleasures you don’t see the cliff a few feet away. I will sleep in the doorway of the sheep pin and put your life before mine. I may use my rod to gentle guide you back away from unseen dangers.
Feed the Flock: I will do my best to lead you to the greener pastures so you can graze on the richness and goodness of God’s Word over anything else you might desire to eat. I will give you a complete diet of the whole counsel of Scripture, not just the sweets and carbs that we all easily enjoy. If I see you are malnourished I will place what you need before you.
Sheer the Flock: As you grow as a sheep one of my duties as a shepherd is to sheer you in the right season. This might seem like a selfish task or painful to you but it is necessary for you. I will help you shave off what is burdening and holding you down. I will help remove the outer fleece so that new growth can occur. Your new coat will grow back in time and be much better and not littered with the debris and things you pick up in the world.
Seek after the Lost: I will come looking for you when I can’t find you. No matter if you walked away on your own or you were led astray by something or someone else. If the actions or inaction of Christians around you turns you off from following Christ and causes you to walk away I am not giving up on you. I will pick you up and put you on my shoulder. I know the True Shepherd and how He did not abandon me. I will bring you back to the protection and fellowship of the other sheep and mend any broken bones or hurts the best I can. If you are a sheep that is lost and all alone without a home you can join our flock, it gets noisy, sometimes we don’t smell all that good and it’s kinda like organized chaos but at least you will have what you need.
As unpopular as it is right now, I’m going to stand with the Lord and stay on his side being an equal opportunity offender. Because the gospel is offensive. Jesus teaches us to love our enemies, forgive those who have wronged us, be anger but not sin, overcome evil with good, and to love our neighbor as we have loved ourselves. You can expect these and other messages to come from me over the next few weeks and months as I shepherd the sheep.