Christ talked a lot about the value of each single sheep. He gave analogies on how important every last one was and what a celebration it should be every time a lost one is found. It would be easy to conclude from these various parables that we should pray for more sheep to be found… for more people to come to know the love of Christ.
This is true, but Christ tells us in Matthew 9:37-38 “Then he said to his disciples,“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.””. He actually refers to the crowds as being like sheep without a shepherd. Christ tells us to pray for more shepherds because as the ‘sheep’ are found, they may be excited about their new faith, they may be on fire for the Lord… but they are also vulnerable without a shepherd.
When I came to really know Christ, it was not at church. I was out of town and came to know the Lord, so I had no shepherd. I came home to find the business card of my roommates racquetball partner sitting in the kitchen. He was a Youth Pastor at a local church so I went to church that Sunday. There I met my first ‘shepherd’, Mitch. He taught me to love the excitement of new growth as we launched a new church together. Since then, I’ve had several Pastors, some were good preachers, others were good leaders but a few were good shepherds. God has used each of them to teach me something new.
Nate taught more by example the love of family and how to show love to others.
Dan taught me to seek the lost and how to truly study the Bible.
Glen taught me how to lead small groups and truly connect deeper with people.
Wayne taught me how to prepare a sermon and be a visionary leader.
John taught me how to dig deeper into myself and others.
Gordon taught me how to lead groups of volunteers and inspire them to be better.
I now have a new shepherd of Fred and I’m excited to see how the Lord will use him in my life as well. God has always brought people into my life with a reason and a purpose. Each has contributed to shaping my life and making me better.
As I begin to head down the path of becoming a shepherd myself, each of the skills and abilities I have gleaned from these pastors will be part of who I am and the pastor I become. I pray each day that one day as someone else reflects on the shepherds in their life, what they have learned from them and how those shepherds have shaped their life… I pray to be on that list.
God, give me the wisdom to use your Gifts for your purpose… to be a positive force in other’s lives, to impact your harvest. Use me daily and groom me to be a shepherd of your flock.