11/30/17: The Shepherd’s Evaluation
Every year in most jobs, employees must go through an annual evaluation. This is a time when the boss or supervisor sits across the table from the employee and talks with him or her about the performance that has been exhibited throughout the year. Generally speaking, if the employee has done her job well, the performance evaluation will be favorable, often leading to a bonus or a raise in financial compensation. However, if the employee’s performance has been below par, a wide array of negative consequences could ensue, from a warning, to disciplinary action, to a demotion, or even to being fired.
Well, God does performance evaluations too, and He likes to start at the top with management. All through Scripture, shepherds and sheep are spoken of symbolically representing the leader or pastor and God’s people. God holds the position of a shepherd to an extremely high standard. After all, the shepherd is directly responsible for the welfare of the sheep. When the shepherds of Israel messed up, God did not mince words. He told them exactly what they had done wrong, enumerated the results of their mismanagement, and pronounced His judgment. Listen in at Ezekiel 34:2-10:
* … “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them.
* “So they were scattered… they became food for all the beasts of the field… My sheep wandered… no one was seeking or searching for them…
* “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand…” (NKJ).
The checklist evaluation of what a shepherd of God’s people is supposed to be doing is right here in this passage. It’s not our job to judge God’s chosen leaders; God is perfectly capable of doing that Himself. However, it is our responsibility to place ourselves under leadership that is reliably following God. Are our pastors concerned with:
- Strengthening the weak?
- Healing the sick?
- Binding up the broken?
- Bringing back those who have been driven away? and
- Seeking the lost?
Those called to be pastors and church leaders (shepherds): there’s the evaluation of your motives. Those called to be sheep: there’s your prayer list for your shepherd.
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