The heart of a pastor/shepherd often carries burdens for sheep that weigh on him. This truly is part of the design by the Great Shepherd. Sin makes a mess of life and helping people often mean getting messy. There are many opportunities for the messes:
1. The sin itself. Sin has effects that are devastating. Sin divides, contaminates further, tears and rips and the hurt is deep. Sin deceives and blinds and sometimes is barely detectable. Sin simmers and then boils over scalding all those it comes in contact with. Messy.
2. The people in sin. Because sin is so deeply rooted in the heart of people it effects every area of living for people. So people in sin often leave a trail of it in the story of their lives. It can be passed down to generations so much it can be a way of life, habitual, and difficult to overcome. Messy.
3. The pastor in sin. The pastor/shepherd has sin as well. He deals with the effects of sin in his life, his family and now in the lives of other people. He has particular “weights and sins” that easily beset him and when confronted with sin and its frustrations in the lives of the sheep the mess can be hard to bear. Messy.
In all three situations, there is hope! The hope is found in the Great Shepherd. He alone is without mess. We run to Him to be cleansed. We run to Him for help. Even under shepherds need Christ. Sin is never too messy for Christ to clean. So, sin is defeated. People must not run from being shepherded, but must run to the Great Shepherd and He has chosen to use imperfect under shepherds. Pastor/shepherds must not lose heart but must rest in the perfection of Great Shepherd. He alone is good!
Great stuff, Eric. Dealing with these issues in our flock right now. Mutual struggles produce mutual prayers!
This is very true. Another pastoral friend of our church often quotes from Proverbs 14:4 “Where no oxen are, the crib is clean…” A very descriptive, pithy verse that tells it the way it is, where people and therefore sinners are, there is mess..
Good thought, Simon. Trust you are doing well. Good to hear from you! Grace to you!