Pastors in our day are considered about as trustworthy as car salesmen, politicians, and lawyers. In other words, pastors do not hold much credibility among our culture.
Sadly, many pastors have fueled that perception.
While there are pastors who faithfully preach the gospel of God’s holiness, man’s sinfulness, God’s rescue mission in Christ, and what our response should be (something highly offensive to our world, see 1 Corinthians 1:18-21), other pastors are in this vocation for some very bad reasons.
So the culture is not the only one sick of unfaithful, wicked pastors–God is fed up with them as well.
In Ezekiel 34:1-10, the shepherds of Israel were a joke! Well, I take that back–jokes are funny, these shepherds had nothing funny about them. The only laughs that took place were how these shepherds fleeced God’s people and got away with it–or so they thought.
In picturesque, agricultural-laden OT language, these “shepherds” (quotations intended) were “feeding themselves” (34:2). How? Read 34:3-6:
- They clothed themselves with wool
- They slaughtered the fat ones
- They failed to strengthen the weak
- They failed to heal up the sick
- They failed to bind up the injured
- They failed to bring back those who went astray
- They failed to seek out the lost
- They ruled with force and harshness
These shepherds used God’s flock to neglect and to benefit at their expense. In our day, it would look something like this:
- Some pastors feel entitled: “I’m the pastor. This is my church. This will be led my way. Do what I say and get out of the way.”
- Some are cowardly: “Well, I don’t want to rock the boat. Preaching this might offend, and we can’t have that! We need to have peace at all costs.” Compromise, they name is scaredy-cat!
- Some are apathetic: “Whatever! God will take care of it! Where’s my headphones and my commentary?”
- Some love projects more than people: “I hope these people don’t get in the way of my plans. If so, those people have to go!”
- Some see pastoring as a job among other jobs: “After all, pastors only work 1-3 hours a week. This is a sweet gig.”
- Some use their churches to climb the denominational ladder: “If I can get the three B’s in place–buildings, budgets, and bodies in the seats, I can land a great job in my state or, dare I say it, national convention? Maybe even teach at a seminary? Gotta dream, baby!”
God is fed up with this type of thinking among the shepherds of our churches! God has placed faithful pastors to be used of Him to produce gospel-gripped churches.
Churches are not stepping stones, but saturated with saved sinners in need of sanctification. This takes care, commitment, and courage in battling both from outside the church as well as from inside.
God commissions churches to send gospel-gripped leaders into our world. He does not commission seminaries or missions boards–churches!
Dear pastor, will God need to come and rescue His sheep from you (see Ezekiel 34:7-10)? Or has He called you and entrusted them into your faithful care?