Two Essentials for Shepherds

There can be no doubt that one of the greatest needs among the Lord’s people is shepherds raised up by the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:28). Some assemblies have a few shepherds, others may have one, and many others have none. Too many have elders who are elders in name only. Hopefully none of these fit the Lord’s description of Israel’s shepherds. " The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them." (Ezek. 34:4)

In days such as these there are two essentials for shepherds who feel a responsibility to the Chief Shepherd for the care of His sheep. These two essentials are a heart and a spine.

It is evident from Scripture that a shepherd raised up of the Holy Spirit will have a love for the sheep. This love drives the shepherd to give his life for the sheep. (John 10:11) It also causes him to lead, rather than drive the sheep. It is very easy when dealing with stubborn sheep to become cold and callused, rather than leading out of love. (John 10:4) May the Lord raise up shepherds who have a heart for the Lord and for His sheep. (1 Pet. 5:2)

It is also evident from Scripture that shepherds need a spine. Their love must not become soft and indifferent to sin. Grace must not compromise the truth. In addition to the staff the shepherd had a rod. When necessary the rod of discipline must be administered for the good of the sheep and the good of the flock. (Heb. 12:6)

Today, there are conditions tolerated in some local churches that are a result of a lack of discipline. Those who have been unfaithful to their marriages, some multiple times, are being accepted as if nothing happened. Some who are living with one to whom they are not married are welcomed, and may even take part in certain church functions. Thankfully this is not the norm, but neither it is an isolated occurrence.

May the Lord raise up shepherds who have both the heart and the spine necessary to do this valuable work.