Sunday, December 18, 2005

Shepherds of God - A meditation

Being asked to serve in a leadership position of any church is a decision that should never be taken lightly. Just as being called into the ministry is a life changing decision, so is acting in the leadership roles of the church.

Congregations often take for granted the prayerful and sometimes agonizing deliberations that must take place behind the closed doors of a board meeting. Men are responsible for the stewardship of God’s money, the peace within the congregation, and the direction in which the people need to be led. When taken seriously, you can understand why Paul might have complained about having a thorn in the flesh (even though we aren’t exactly sure what his thorn was).

When things move smoothly through the church, and it is simply business as usual, we tend to become complacent – comfortable in the fact that things are worry free for the time. I think of this time of peace as a joy but at the same time one has to think of the robot from an the old television show, Lost in Space. Things would be peaceful for the Robinson family when suddenly that silly robot would start flailing his arms and shouting, “Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!”

Satan loves it when we become comfortable. In our comfort we allow things to run their course, never changing, never modifying or adjusting, never moving forward. Just staying the course. I suppose a certain amount of comfort is fine but when we allow it to prevent us from carrying out the commission Christ left us, it becomes detrimental.

1 Peter 5:2-3 gives us some insight on being a leader in the church. “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be, not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”

Shepherding is not the sole possession of the leadership either. The commission was given to us all as Christians. Using the excuse that churches are on every corner and that the people are evenly distributed just doesn’t cut it. I’m sorry. As shepherds of the church we all are responsible to grow our church. Everyone of us. That means laying aside the complacency and stepping into the dusty sandals of Christ. It means evangelizing, reaching out into the community, and understanding that if everyone spoken to doesn’t come through the door, that’s okay – and then rejoicing for the one who does.

Being a Christian carries responsibility and it’s one which belongs to us all. The next time you see a church leader, thank them for the burden they willingly carry, offer them support, do your part to end complacency – get your feet dusty. Do something.

Prayer: Precious Lord, we fall prey to the easiest tool of that Satan has to offer. We become satisfied that things are fine, when all the while, we need to press forward. Give us guidance Lord, strength and determination to overcome satisfaction.