Ezekiel 34 hit very close to home for me. A few weeks ago, we heard of a pastor friend, who had married us, and a situation he was involved in. What the repercussions will be, only God knows, but it brought me up short, reminding me of the need for faithfulness in fellowship with Christ so I can be a faithful shepherd to whatever flock I am responsible for now and in future ministry. Good and godly leadership comes from the inside out. Leaders can only lead based on their values and who they are. I do not want to be as the shepherds Ezekiel addresses, indicted by God as faithless, careless shepherds.
Blenkinsopp aptly notes, “Pastoral office is a response to needs that call out for selfless dedication and unremitting solicitude,” leadership being a sacred trust. Leaders must be concerned for the “least of these” (Mt 25). The issue is not orthodoxy or orthopraxy, but compassionate care, as modeled throughout Jesus’ ministry. It is all about God and his people, not about us.
We hear echoes of Ezek 34:16 in Luke 19:10’s Jesus seeking and saving the lost and John 10’s good shepherd passage. Christ’s compassion and love is evident throughout his ministry. May that be the earmark of our ministry as well.