|Pixabay, Public Domain|
In Spanish this phrase is translated: “El Señor es mi pastor.”
As in all things, we are to model our Lord (1 Peter 2:21). So, as He is the Great Shepherd, the quintessential Shepherd, those who claim the title of shepherd or pastor are to model Him.
There are many who use the title of shepherd or pastor who are not pastors. They may be CEOs, or supervisors, or coordinators, or bosses, or leaders, but they are not pastors. They may meet the criteria mentioned in Paul’s epistles and be the husbands of one wife, manage their families, not be given to hungering after money, be well-behaved, and be able to teach (1 Timothy 3:2). But those things alone don't make them pastors.
A person who exercises his duties through manipulation, intimidation, or isolation is not a pastor.
A person who will not disturb his lunch to come and offer a prayer or a shred of comfort to a parishioner at the point of death, is not a pastor.
These may be described in other ways, and their gifting may be in other areas, but they are not shepherds. We do a disservice to the title, to the gift, to the office, and most of all to the reputation of the Great Shepherd by applying the title “pastor” inappropriately.
If we are looking for a pastor, (the office) or want to identify a pastor (the gift), we will find his (or her) qualifications in Psalm 23.
But even those who are in the truest sense of the word, “pastors,” are still only shadows of the real deal. We must remember that our human models are just that—models. They are TRYING (hopefully) to be like the Great Shepherd, but they will never reach the standard—there is only ONE Great Shepherd. With the grace of God at work in their lives, they will model as closely, as is possible, that Good Shepherd described for us in Psalm 23. It is not an assignment to be taken lightly. I would recommend to readers Paul Tripp's book, "Dangerous Calling," and Joseph Stowell's book, "Redefining Leadership."
We, the sheep, understanding that our earthly shepherds will have “clay feet" at times, constantly lean, not on them, but on the One Shepherd who never fails. We too are made of clay. And so we look at Him to know what they should be imitating.
The first characteristic of our Good Shepherd is a mind-blower: “The Lord is my shepherd, I SHALL LACK NOTHING.”
Stay tuned. We come back to that first statement tomorrow.