In my last post, we saw Jesus going off to a solitary place with His disciples. They were in need of some rest after a particularly stressful time. After they were leaving, some people discovered where the Lord and His team were going to.
But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
Jesus and His disciples wanted a break from ministry. Apparently, a few hours sailing on the lake was enough to lift their energy levels. When He saw the crowds, Jesus was ready and willing to bring them God’s Word.
What impresses me the most is that it wasn’t out of obligation. He didn’t minister because He was the Messiah and that was His job. There was an inner pressure that was initiated by His compassion for the crowds.
It’s important to note how the Lord viewed these people. He saw them like sheep without a shepherd. That’s important. They had shepherds assigned to them in the synagogues. But for all intents and purposes, it was as if they had none.
That got me thinking about our generation. As I look out across Western Christianity, I see the same problem.
Yes, we have people that we refer to as pastors (shepherds), and I’m one of them. But I’ve been noticing a trend that gives me a cause for concern. In our society, many believers are like sheep without a shepherd.
What do I mean by that? Right now there’s an attitude in the body of Christ that we don’t need or want shepherds. We want teachers who will tell us about living for God. What we don’t want is a shepherd who will lead us in the right paths – and warn us not to take the wrong paths.
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
2 Timothy 4:3
The Apostle Paul saw it on the horizon. He spoke about it to a young shepherd named Timothy. We’re living in the fulfillment of this. We want to surround ourselves with teachers, not shepherds.
When somebody teaches, I become the judge. I decide whether or not to apply what I hear. After all, no one’s going to tell me what I have to do. God loves me, no matter how I decide to live my life.
The truth is that God does love you. You may even be on your way to heaven. But is that really what your life is all about?
We’re called to be the light of Christ in this dark world. We’re the ones with the message of hope and salvation to those who are lost and dying. When we live for ourselves, we miss the whole point of why the Lord placed His Holy Spirit in us.
When we live as sheep without a shepherd, then we’re on dangerous ground. The enemy is able to pick us off, one by one. That’s why so many Christians have the same problems as the world. We should be living at a level that’s so much higher.
Make it your goal to place yourself under a God-assigned shepherd who will speak God’s word into your life.
Question: How has following a God-given shepherd protected you from an attack of the enemy?
© 2018 Nick Zaccardi