Jump Start #3146
Jump Start # 3146
John 10:14 “I am the good shepherd; and I know My own, and My own know Me.”
I’ve been doing some preaching recently about the role of shepherds in God’s church. This is one of my favorite topics and I have traveled the country talking to leaders in the church about their role. Moving away from the administrative, micro-managing, CEO business model that is dominate in so many congregations today is hard. But, many are seeing that what they have been doing is not working and it’s not really the Biblical model and pattern that God has. It’s great to sit in a room of Godly men, with their Bibles opened and to talk feely about these things. I love seeing the light bulbs come on in their thinking. They are getting it and what a powerful and positive change they will make for the church.
In our verse, two things come up. Jesus knows His sheep and His sheep know Him. This comes about because He cares. In Acts, the apostle reminds us that Jesus purchased the church with His own blood. He gave the ultimate sacrifice, the most precious thing He had on earth was His life.
Jesus knows the sheep because He cares. The previous verse in John 10 reminds us that the hireling runs when trouble arises. He saves his own skin. He leaves the flock to fend for themselves, which they are incapable of doing. The Lord tells us that the hireling runs because he “is not concerned about the sheep.” That’s it. That’s the bottom line. When you don’t care, you simply do not care. No loss of sleep, no second thoughts, no worrying. It’s not your problem, so you don’t make it your problem. That’s the hireling. Sadly, that does describe some elderships today. They need to change. They need to do better.
But, from our verse today comes a thought. “I know My own, and My own know Me,” says the Lord.
First, sometimes we make it very, very hard for shepherds to know us. We carry things very close to our vest. We do not reveal. When asked, we are vague. When a shepherd wants to come over and visit with us, we are quick to turn that down. Don’t want you in my home. How about going out for lunch? Too busy. How about coming over to my home, the shepherd offers? Nope.
It’s hard for shepherds to know the sheep, when we make ourselves unknowable. Then, on top of that, some will complain and pitch a fit, that no one came to visit them in the hospital when they had surgery. How were they to know you were in the hospital, when you don’t share things? Some will complain that the shepherds keep their distance, when the truth is, we walk about in a cloud and we keep them at arms length.
Jesus had an advantage that doesn’t exist today. He was God on earth. He could read hearts and know what people were thinking, even when they never said a word. Our shepherds today can’t do that. They only know what we will tell them. They want transparency, but we like hiding behind clouds. They want to be open, and we want to be closed.
Knowing sheep and knowing shepherds is a two way street.
Second, Jesus is showing us that the more we understand each other, the closer we are connected, the better it is. The hireling didn’t care. Jesus does. As we build relationships, the trust, love and concern for each other grows. Their words take on greater emphasis because they know us. They love us. They are concerned for us.
Third, there will be some natural bonds established because of similarities in life. Fishing or golfing buddies have a lot in common. That bond grows tighter when one is a shepherd. Age, family matters, hobbies, interests will pull you closer to one shepherd more than others. Among the shepherds, there cannot be jealousy because of that. Use that opportunity to help grow, develop and mentor those that are close to you. Jesus did more with the apostles than He did with the multitudes. Jesus had a purpose and a special bond with the chosen. Did that mean He liked them better? Not necessarily. But time together allowed Jesus to say and do things with the twelve that He didn’t do with others.
Even among those dear to Him, like Mary and Martha, we do not find the Lord rebuking them and saying, “O you of little faith,” when they were upset about the death of Lazarus. He did tell the disciples, in that same context, “I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe…”
The closeness of friendship must not taint our eyes or change our mission with what needs to be done. Favoritism does not belong in the home or the church. When something needs to be done, then stick with the Biblical pattern and do it. Do it with kindness and love. Do it with promptness. But don’t drag your heels because it is a friend who is involved. Use that opportunity to reach out and say what you couldn’t to someone else.
I know and they know…what a wonderful relationship.