A preacher was taking to a group on a tour of Israel. He had just read them the parable of the good shepherd and was explaining to them that, as they continued their tour, they would see shepherds on the hillsides just as in Jesus’ day. He wanted to impress the group, so he told them what every good preacher tells the congregation about shepherds. He described how, in Israel, shepherds always lead their sheep, always walking in front to face dangers, always protecting the sheep by going ahead of them.
He barely got the last word out when, sure enough, they rounded a corner and saw a man and his sheep on the hillside. There was only one problem: the man wasn’t leading the sheep as the good preacher had said. No, he was behind the sheep and seemed to be chasing them. The preacher turned red. Flabbergasted, he ran over to the fence and said, “I always thought shepherds in this region led their sheep – out in front. And I told my people that a good shepherd never chases his sheep.” The man replied, “That’s absolutely true… you’re absolutely right… but I’m not the shepherd, I’m the butcher!
Sadly, in this day and age there are many elders in the Lord’s church who are more “butchers” than they are “shepherds” of the Lord’s flock. Paul warned the Ephesian elders of this very evil – “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:28-30).
Elders have a very awesome responsibility in shepherding the flock and they will be held accountable for how they have performed (Heb. 13:17). The congregation is to follow the faith of the elders (Heb. 13:7) – thus, elders are to be leading the flock into the strait and narrow path which leads to heaven (Mt. 7:13-14), using the “old paths” (Jer. 6:16). Elders who are not sound in doctrine and who do not loving shepherd the flock are a “butcher.” “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves anymore; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them” (Eze. 34:8-10).
Please pray for your elders – pray that they have the courage to do what needs to be done to keep the church pure and souls saved.
Think About It!
Have A Great Day!
Park Heights church of Christ
P. O. Box 107
1300 East Boynton Street
Hamilton, Texas 76531
“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”