People will try to make an idol out of a true shepherd just as readily as they will a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The only difference is that the true shepherd won’t allow it; the wolf will. True shepherds know that all they are is men in service to the King. The wolves, false teachers, and false prophets see themselves as kings searching for a kingdom, a lord searching for a fiefdom. Their intent is not to serve but to be served, and whenever their authority is challenged, they react instinctively to protect their piece of the pie.
Their notion of love is anchored in words, while they expect everyone else to reciprocate with action. It’s not really the sheep they love; it’s the wool the sheep provide. Some realized this, belatedly so, when they fell on hard times and needed help with funeral expenses or an electric bill, and they were turned away by the same pastors whose churches they tithed to for decades.
Evidently, the blessing of prosperity is a one-way, dead-end street. It flows to me but not to thee. You can’t tell me people’s opinions about God don’t change when the supposed man of God has been telling them they’re one sacrificial love offering away from their breakthrough for twenty solid years, with no breakthrough in sight. It’s usually not the man they get embittered toward but God because, in their minds, the two are inexorably linked. The man behind the pulpit made sure it was so. It was the only way he could exude authority over them.
We laugh off the pulpit pimps of today, thinking them benign and inoffensive, but they are not, and when their poisoned fruit is fully ripened, there will be scores of souls so turned off by the idea of God that they will actively seek to persecute those who still cling to the hem of His garment.
When someone loves you only so long as you can provide a service or some benefit, and their affection is based on your ability to provide said service or benefit, it’s not love; it’s exploitation. Why does this matter? Why is this important? Because we have entered a season where a lot of the selfsame sheep certain false shepherds have been fleecing will be in dire need of help.
The worm is about to turn, and with its turning, a famine will descend upon the land the likes of which this present generation could not conceive, nevermind live through. I was recently asked in an interview what the best thing a local church can do to prepare for what’s coming, and other than pray and draw closer to God, I suggested a benevolence fund that would be used to help those within the church as the need arises.
Interdependency on each other, and total dependency upon God, is the only way I see believers getting through what’s coming. The body must take care of the body. If your thumb or toe is hurting, you don’t just take a cleaver to them; you try to remedy the hurt as best as possible.
While some dread the inevitability of hardships in America, I believe there will be some benefit to it. No, I don’t want to see people suffer or go hungry; I’ve seen enough of that in my life. However, generations go through cycles of feast or famine and have since the beginning of creation, and they come at such regular intervals that a pattern has emerged. What’s coming cannot be helped, but in the midst of it, you will know the true shepherds from the false ones with the clarity and force of being stirred from slumber by a punch to the nose.
The true shepherds will do their best to comfort the hurting and keep their flock safe, while the false ones will disavow themselves of their sheep the moment they can no longer provide the life of leisure they feel they’re entitled to.
It’s hard to convince someone they’re being used when they see it as love and affection. After a certain point, even when they start to see hints of something being off, they soldier on because they invested too much time and emotion to admit they were wrong.
I acknowledge that you may feel as though we’ve spent too much time on this topic. Still, we need to understand that it won’t be just one thing that will lead to a falling away so great that the world has yet to see one its size; it will be a confluence of things that will come together in a symphony of destruction.
It will affect the unprepared the hardest. Those who sat under shepherds that were disinterested in their spiritual well-being or the level of preparedness for what the Bible says is coming will be caught unaware. When they will need to lean on their shepherd for support, he will be nowhere to be found.
It’s up to you to pick your shepherd, so pick your shepherd well. Are they more interested in sparing feelings or saving souls? Are they more interested in embracing the current culture, or are they determined to march against the tide of compromise and sin?
Take as much time picking your shepherd as you would your dentist or hairdresser. I know that’s a stretch for a lot of people, but if the only factor as to whether or not you will attend a church is how long the service is and if it ends early enough so you can be the first in line at the Old Country Buffet, you’ve got a problem that needs fixing.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea, Jr.