John 10:19-42

A Church of Pastors

John 10:19-42
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and the follow me”
John 10:27
If you have noticed anything over the last few weeks you will have noticed the numerous references to sheep. Sheep and Shepherds are a key motif and illustration throughout scripture. Israel was a nation of shepherds. Shepherding and pastoral care – literally looking after your flock – were hard wired into the minds of the people that Jesus was speaking to. Yes he was a carpenter and his disciples were a mix of fishermen, tax collectors and revolutionaries (zealots), but their common history was shepherding. Sheep, lambs, goats, were all vital for the nation’s economy and for the nations worship. It is almost as if God created sheep to teach us about leadership and our relationship with God!

This week I want us to lift our eyes from the specific question of who is our shepherd to the wider subject of pastoral care. As you have worked out by now the word pastoral points us to the world of caring for sheep. Pastoral care finds its origin in the Latin – Pastor, meaning shepherd. When we talk about pastoral care in the church we are talking about shepherding. The role of a shepherd is to help sheep grow up safe and healthy. Pastoral care is about helping one another grow up safe and healthy.

Biblical pastoral care is about growing up – maturing in God to fulfil our identity and calling in God. Ephesians 4 connects our growth with the role of the pastor:

"11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up."

But the New Testament also connects our pastoral care, our wellbeing, with one another. We need great leaders who pastor us after the model of Jesus, but we also need to be an active part of a pastoral community. The New Testament constantly refers to our care for one another. We are encouraged to love one another, encourage one another, rejoice with one another, serve one another, forgive one another, grieve with one another, admonish one another, pray for one another, give to one another….

We are like sheep. We just do better in a flock. I have been so blessed by anointed leaders who have taught me and led me into worship. But the greatest influence on my life has been those around me in the church who have cared for me, and whom I have had the privilege of caring for. Over this week let us not lose sight of THE Shepherd – Jesus. But let us also look to our left and our right. Who am I called to care for right now? Who are you being prompted to encourage and equip in their walk with God?

Apply

  1. How are you taking responsibility for your own spiritual health in this season?

  2. Where might you need to listen to the voice of Jesus most closely at the moment? Which scriptures might help you?

  3. Who are you seeking to pastor in this season? Which community of pastoral care are you investing in?

Prayer

Father God,

Thank you that you are the GOOD SHEPHERD. Thank you that you are always speaking to me through your word and by the Holy Spirit. Help me listen well as I seek to care for those around me.

Amen.
This Everyday Devotions was written by Simon Elliott, our Lead Elder.

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