Shepherds, Pastors, and Patriarchs

·        .facebook_-1652317797 In a recent episode of A&E’s Longmire — the Native American character Henry is apologizing to a wise old Indian woman who helped him and his friend Walt Longmire in a “dubious” situation.  Now that an investigation is getting close–Henry goes to her and says that he is sorry to have put her and Walt in a “hard position”. 

She asks him what the first warrior said to the Great Spirit.  Henry smiles and repeats the legend. 

When the first warrior sees the plains and the hills of the land that is his he tells the Great Spirit that he will fight long and hard with great honor to defend this land — his home. 

The Great Spirit says No — fight long and hard with great honor for those of your tribe.  For those you bring into this world.  For those who become your friends.  They are your home. 

Why did Israel as a nation crash and burn?

Ezekiel 34:2-10 
This passage reminds us of one of the main reasons Israel continually found themselves outside of the will of God.  Their leaders / shepherds failed them in many ways.  As the passage points out:

  • you do not take care of the flock

  • You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick

  • You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost.

God warns them that “I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock

In the early days of the church Paul called the elders of Ephesus to see him and gave them these words of admonishment:

Acts 20 

 From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church…. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.  Be shepherds of the church of God,which he bought with his own blood.  29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard!

One of the best books I have ever read concerning church leadership is: Smell Like Sheep.  The title is based on the idea that anyone who is consistently residing with and working with sheep will smell like them because they are in constant contact with them.  My in-laws have had sheep for years, and for several years of Connie and I’s early married life we helped show sheep at as many as 14 or 15 county fairs each summer.  There is no way to avoid smelling like sheep if you are spending time with them.

·         When you have time — look closely at the qualifications for elders, deacons, “deacons’ wives (or possibly deaconesses) in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.   

What you find is not a list of leadership qualities or business qualifications — what you see is a description of men who are to be men fully committed to two things

1.    Family and being an example to the family

2.    Scripture as a basis for faith and behavior

These “patriarchs” of the church are to love the family of God as their own. 

  • rejoice in their successes
  • cry in their sorrow
  • discipline in their rebellion
  • teach in their ignorance

 CONCLUSION

“So the goal of a coach is to follow God’s guidance toward creating a team that can win.  A winning team is one that reaches the lost and makes disciples who can disciple others.  The goal of winning is not to fill stadiums with fans;  it’s not about numbers, unless what you are counting is the number of godly disciples.  Life change is the goal.” — Jim Putnam, Church is a Team Sport, p. 95

 Remember Henry from Longmire? 

Those who are leaders in the church are be like the first warrior — defenders of the tribe (church), the ones we bring into this world (new disciples), and those who become our friends (growing, relational disciples).  They are our home…..

 

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