The following is the second part in Scott’s series on loving shepherds. You can read the first part: Everybody Love a Shepherd Challenge.
How do we love and encourage and support the Shepherds in our lives? We have thought about giving different kinds of presents. How else might we go about fulfilling our biblical charge to “make it a joy” for them to rule over us? Let’s consider what we can learn from Titus 1 and 2.
Elders face frustration
In Titus 1, you have a list of qualifications of an Elder/Shepherd followed immediately by his work. Verse 9 shows that the elder must be able to use the Word to “exhort” and to “convict those who contradict”. So, by implication this is going to be a work that includes times of difficulty and frustration.
Some sheep have hearts who respond well to correction and rebuke, and some do not. Part of what is required is standing against false teachers and going after sheep who stray (“rebuke the disorderly” in Thessalonians, meaning bring back into line those who are not marching with the group).
Not easy! Often times very difficult. Sheep will often bite the shepherd when such things are carried out, and frequently divisions are formed along family lines, etc.
Constantly telling others
Chapter 2 of Titus bears all of this out further. Titus (a shepherd in the universal realm as opposed to the local) is told by Paul to “be constantly” telling the older men a list of needed instructions. (It is hard for the younger to exhort and teach the older sometimes). He is to be constantly telling the older women a list of needed instructions (which includes don’t use your tongue like the devil! Wow! The Greek is diabolous).
He is to be constantly telling the younger women a needed list of instructions (which includes teaching on modesty, homemaking, obedience to husbands – obviously touchy subjects to say the least) He is to be constantly teaching the young men a list of needed instructions (take life seriously, be an example, study hard, be respectful, be pure, etc.).
Finally he moves on to constantly telling a needed list of instructions to bond-servants (work hard, please your masters, show faithfulness, don’t answer back, etc.) He ends the chapter with, “Keep speaking these things! Exhort, Rebuke with all authority! Let no one despise you.”
All of this is simply to say, THIS IS A HARD WORK FOR SHEPHERDS, many times a discouraging and thankless work (outside of the thanks of heaven now and in eternity), so my suggestion today is simple:
STAND WITH THEM, TELL THEM YOU ARE WITH THEM, ask the Lord HOW TO SHOW them that you are with them, receive not an accusation against them, tell them that you stand behind them, that you love them and will be praying with them and for them (warning: “let love be without hypocrisy”, if you are not praying for them this would be a great time to start, then tell them.)
Standing on the side of His authority
The Living God is on the side of the authority He has established: Where are we?!? If we are not standing where the Lord Jesus is standing, I suggest we repent and do whatever is necessary to be where He is, and stand where He stands.
Let’s LOVE and HONOR and SUPPORT our shepherds!! We need them.We need many more of them! Let’s be good to the ones we have, and pray the Lord raises up thousands more to take care of the next wave of harvest among the 530 million in North America that is coming by the Lord’s omnipotent power and grace!!
Not turning a blind eye
Note: I feel obligated to say this isn’t a blanket or blind submission to error or sin. There are essential and wise checks and balances built into the Word of God. Elders are to be “rebuked in the presence of all” when they depart from the Word. The Lord himself scathingly rebukes false shepherds in Ezekiel and Zechariah for their short comings, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, for the glory of Jesus Christ, for the good of the body, and for your own thriving spiritually, don’t let the fact that things aren’t what they should be or could be keep you from doing what YOU SHOULD DO AND CAN DO to play your role, and obey your Savior!!). LORD help us, starting with me!