The Shepherd and the Sheep: Minding Our Manners


“As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats. Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? Must my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have muddied with your feet?” – Ezekiel 34:17-19

Many of you may have heard the name Harold Camping of late, and the repeated predictions of the rapture.  You might have also taken note that the rapture did not occur this past weekend and will not occur on his newly predicted date.  Harold Camping fits squarely into the false prophet category; one that tramples the pasture and muddies the waters.  His hopscotch approach to interpreting scripture has damaged scores of believers, and brings ridicule from those who disdain Christianity.

It is easy to look at someone like this and blame him for the negativity that people we know have toward Christianity.   We may even find ourselves saying something like, “He’s the kind of guy that makes Christians look bad.”  The problem is that your non-Christian friends probably felt ambivalence toward Christianity before they had ever heard of Harold Camping.  The real problem is the sheep in the mirror.

I know that there have been plenty of times, through action or word, that I have trampled the pasture and muddied the waters.  My life did not reflect the shepherd or the life of the pasture He had provided.  I could blame Harold Camping for people not having a favorable view of Christianity, but I’m pretty sure I have done my fair share of making God’s pasture look less appealing.

Do I think that having a bad day in representing Christ is remotely comparable to false prophecy?  No.  But it never helps when we focus on our frustrations with the behavior of others.  God will take care of Mr. Camping, but my life in Christ is my responsibility.  Every day is an opportunity to live life in the pasture better than the day before.  Every day holds the promise of God’s mercy and grace for me to overcome the failures of yesterday.

Lord I pray that I would have eyes to watch my step, ears to hear you directing them and a will submitted to yours that I might walk them for your glory and honor.  Help me live a life in your pasture that draws others to your flock and doesn’t drive them away. Amen.

6 thoughts on “The Shepherd and the Sheep: Minding Our Manners

  1. I really appreciate your posts about us sheep and His pasture. So true and I will be praying along side you. I remember once He told me that when I see Him, He’s not going to be concerned at how everyone treated me, but how I treated others. Praying I can follow His lead in being merciful and gracious to Mr. Camping and everyone I am in contact with! God bless you Chris!

  2. Great and wise post.

    I actually think myself worse than people like Camping because my friends can easily write him off as mental, but they consistently see the inconsistency in my life, and I’m sure this damages them more than people like Camping…

    • Thanks Nick. Don’t be too hard on yourself. The point is to live honestly in front of God and man, to own up to our shortcomings and praise God for His mercy and grace when we succeed. From what I have read, you are an honest man and that is a rare thing.

      Blessings,
      Chris

  3. Chris, I love your posts. I so closely identify with sheep it’s pathetic sometimes. 😉 However, this is SO true. The old adage, “When you point a finger at someone else, you have three more pointing back at you” is apropos during these days of mudslinging. The passage you quoted from Ezekiel is perfect. Thank you for expressing what God is laying on your heart.

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