Ezekiel 34:16 “I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.”
On the one hand this is a very comforting verse, but on the other hand, it makes you wonder whether you might come under the “fat and strong” heading! To me this really is a cautionary note for churches in America, particularly, where the “prosperity gospel” has sucked in so many, and where obesity is a national epidemic. That’s not to say that everyone who is overweight should feel condemned, but it does call of a hard look at how much you need, not just in food but in everything else as well. As an example, California, that used to be the epitome of a “desirable place to live,” now has the worst quality of life in the country. Though it has quantities of very wealthy people, both entertainers and people in the high tech industry, it also has the most homeless, and violent gangs are relentless. That said, we also have to remember that being poor or thin doesn’t automatically mean you are good! God looks at our hearts, and He knows our motives. Those who are genuinely living by the First and Second Commandments listed by Jesus (Matthew 22:37-40) have nothing to be worried about. On the other hand, those who have fooled themselves into thinking they are seeking God’s kingdom (Matthew 6:33) when actually they are just looking to benefit themselves, are in a very dangerous place.
This verse certainly makes me think and examine myself. I have demonstrated time and again that knowing truth isn’t the same as doing it, and “those who teach will be judged more strictly.” (James 3:1) This church has had many sheep who have wandered off, and I haven’t been able to draw them back. I feel that I have been greatly blessed personally, but especially as a pastor I must not be satisfied with that. I need to keep myself available as God’s instrument to seek the lost, bind up the wounded, and strengthen the weak. I can’t do it right in my own strength and wisdom, but I must be active in offering myself for God to use me to that end.
Father, this flock has gone through a lot, especially over the past year. I ask for Your answer to every question, Your resolution to every conflict, that Your plans may be fulfilled on Your schedule, building up the Body of Christ for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!