Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Sheep Dog: An Open Letter to Pastors

Dear Pastor:

You are not the chief Shepherd. That job is already taken.

You are the sheep dog for your congregation - and you must do whatever the Good Shepherd tells you to do to take care of them. This may well include nipping at their heels... or throwing yourself in front of predators who seek to steal, kill & destroy. 

Listen for the Shepherd's voice... always. Listen like your life and the lives of those entrusted to you depend on it. They do.

And take care not to mistake your desire to be petted and fussed over for the voice of the Shepherd. It is far too easy to become the pet of the sheep you are called to love & protect. You should expect encouragement from the flock - but you can only depend on the words that come from the Shepherd's mouth.

You are part of a glorious heritage of sheep dogs - some who became famous, while others toiled in obscurity. Recognition of your faithfulness and skills may not be forthcoming in these pastures... but that should not change your diligence or your work ethic.

Sometimes, you will run hard to stay ahead of the flock, guiding them as the Shepherd leads. At other moments, you will wait - wait for His command, wait as the sheep find their way, wait because activity will cause more problems than it will solve. Both the working and the waiting are profitable, if they are done under the Shepherd's guidance.

And, some time in the future, you will no longer work the fields, but instead enter into a well-deserved rest before the fire and the words of the Shepherd: "That'll do. That'll do."

May you make much of Jesus,

Mark Jackson

John 10:10-15
John 15:14
1st Samuel 23:1-6
2nd Timothy 4:3-5
Hebrews 11
Psalm 27:14
Matthew 25:21