So, I was reading in Ezekiel yesterday, and you know what struck me? It struck me how the Lord was warning the shepherds of the house of Israel. Similiarly, I believe that the Lord is now warning the shepherds in the Gentile church, specifically those in the West. Our pastors have been able to live off the gospel, receive recognition from teaching and leading the children of God, are allowed tax breaks in accordance with Federal law, are given many gifts and kudos by church members, YET I see many who are NOT doing what God has told us to do as stewards of His grace, mercy, and His word.
Before I go any further, let me say for myself that I love the Lord, I love His children, and therefore I love these men of God: pastors. I DO NOT hate them or lack compassion for them. Pastors have probably THE hardest job that I can think of: growing people! In fact, I feel that perhaps the Lord is preparing me for pastorship of some kind someday – I regard the position HIGHLY. There have multiple times when I have been offered leadership positions in churches, or have received ordinations, and the Lord has had me give them back. I don’t fully understand the reasons, but I suspect it is because I wasn’t ready yet and because the organizations of which I was going to be a part would have molded me in a way not in accordance with God’s plan for my life. I bring up these points only to say that I have a certain degree of qualification in saying what I’m about to say, and that I only write because I feel the unction of the Holy Spirit to do so. Much love for you, pastors: much respect.
With that being said, I must type this. Shepherds, stop hoarding for yourselves that which the Lord gives for the whole flock. Don’t use your positions of authority in order to get your way, to get your will to come to pass. Don’t use the gift of your charisma, a God-given gift for evangelization and effective leadership, to woo people unto YOU, but unto the Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t lay burdens upon people that you are unwilling to help lift a finger to help lift off; for this you are hypocrites. And don’t keep my sheep hungry for more of my word and more of who I am while you know enough about me to write many books. What I give to you, I give you to SHARE. Share your revelations. Share your knowledge. Share your experience. Share your joys and sorrows. Share your positions of authority. Share your time behind the pulpit. Share decisions that have to be made. How else do you expect to reproduce fruit after the kingdom of God? Opportunities must be given in order for the children of God to grow! Look at all the chances I’ve given you to mature into the leader you are today, far stronger than you were 5 or 10 years ago! Now is the season of preparation for others as well as yourselves.
Do not keep squirting milk into the mouths of adolescents, allowing them to flounder in layers of baby fat. No, instead show them that it is time for the meat of the word. Ignite passion for scholarship that is equal to worshiping with emotions and activities: not more or less. Discipline the flock as I have disciplined you: with great grace and mercy, yet with firm and swift justice when it’s for the best. My Spirit will teach you all these things in greater detail if you will allow. I love you, my sons, my servants, and my beloved ones.