Sunday, April 15, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 46

Prayers of Intercession continued..

One thing we must understand about the office of shepherd, pastor or overseer of God’s people is that one does not appoint themselves to it, one must be appointed to it by the Holy Spirit. It wasn’t Paul that made the elders at Ephesus overseers and shepherds of God’s people; it was the Holy Spirit who appointed them.

Nowadays shepherding God’s people is more a career choice than it is a true calling. The job as it were, is not physically demanding, one need not slave in the heat of the sun as one would in roofing, or laying asphalt, and it has come to be known that if you give the people what they want, the pay isn’t half bad, and the retirement package is downright generous.

As such there are countless souls today, with pastoral degrees, ready to shepherd their own flock, who were never called to shepherd, whom the Holy Spirit never appointed as overseers, and who frankly have no business being behind a pulpit.

The first requirement of a shepherd is that he is appointed by the Holy Spirit. The second requirement is that they have love for the sheep, that they have love for the children of God, and not see them as something to be sheered. The tragedy arises when those who ought to be shepherds, act more like the wolves they’re supposed to be protecting the sheep from. This occurs when the individual in question is not called of God, or appointed of the Holy Spirit, but chooses the career of elder, or shepherd because of the fringe benefits associated with it.

Hirelings abide only while the going is good, while the accolades are plentiful, and there is no cost, sacrifice, or exertion involved in being an overseer. When times get hard, and there is a price to be paid for calling yourself a shepherd, or a man of God, these selfsame hirelings will abandon the sheep with lightning speed.

Pray for the true men of God, intercede on their behalf, bring prayers of intercession before the Father for their strength, their health, their wisdom, and their steadfastness, because true shepherds are rarer than you or I might like to believe.

I write these words not out of a desire to be divisive, not out of a desire to be controversial, but because they are true, and I have witnessed this within many a church firsthand while traveling throughout this nation for the better part of twenty five years. Yes, it has been that long. Yes, I’ve seen allot during my time, and this is why I must stand up for the true shepherds, and encourage the sheep to keep them in their prayers, and respect the authority that comes with being appointed of the Holy Spirit.

A true shepherd, a true overseer of God’s people will always acknowledge and keep at the forefront of his mind that the sheep belong to Christ. They are Christ’s sheep, not theirs, and as such they will have to answer to Christ for the pastures to which they lead His sheep, the waters they encourage them to drink from, and the protection they provide from the wolves and the deceivers.

True overseers, are accountable directly to God, and they know this. The knowledge that one is accountable to God for what they teach, how they oversee, how they use the resources God has made available, keeps one humble and diligent in being cautious concerning every aspect of ministry.

When you know that you’re accountable to God for how you execute the duties of ministry, you treat every aspect of it through the prism of it, belonging to God. As such, you are frugal with the resources you are given, you weigh the words that you speak, you make certain that your teaching is in harmony with the Bible, and you do your utmost to point the way to Christ, and admonish those who would hear to walk the straight and narrow path of faith.

True men of God don’t become shepherds in order to get famous, they don’t become pastors in order to garner a following, they don’t pursue ministry as a means of gain, they do it out of obedience to God, because God called, and they answered the call, and as such they go wherever the Shepherd sends them, doing whatever the Shepherd commands them to do.

You will not find vainglory in a true overseer of God’s people, you will not find personal aspirations, or five year plans, or dreams of hitting it big. The desire of true shepherds is singular, to be obedient to the Shepherd in all things, and protect His flock at all cost.

Hebrews 13:17, “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable to you.”

This verse is not speaking about those who govern us, but those who rule over us, or lead us from a spiritual standpoint. How can I be certain of this? Because the writer of Hebrews goes on to tell us that those who are appointed to rule over us, watch out for our souls, as ones who must give account.

Last time I checked, political parties, and governing bodies neither watch out for our souls, nor do they give account to God for them. As such we know this passage speaks of those whom the Holy Spirit appoints as overseers, and it makes it quite clear that they must give account for the souls they are appointed to oversee.

Whether one who watches out for your soul does so with joy or grief, is largely dependent on the sheep, and whether or not they are submissive to the word of God, and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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