Shepherds

As morning breaks and the sun rises in the sky, the Chief Undershepherd descends upon his flock to protect and nourish them. The shepherd is a large and loud man, a man who takes his job seriously. He takes himself seriously too as is evidenced by the constant air of importance that swirls around him like a cloud. In fact, there is very little about which the Chief Undershepherd is not serious — right down to care he takes with the four pointed hanky sticking from his dark gray business suit.

He approaches the flock with a large smile plastered on his face. The smile slips a little as he spots an injured sheep that has fallen prey to some rock or hole and now nurses and injured leg. The shepherd glances down at the animal and then then begins to yell because he knows no other volume.

“THIS IS ALL YOUR OWN FAULT, YOU KNOW. I TOLD YOU TO WATCH OUT WHERE YOU STEPPED. NOW YOU EITHER CUT OUT THAT LIMPING OR THE REST OF THE HERD WILL JUST LEAVE YOU HERE ALONE.”

The sheep bleats piteously but the shepherd pays it no mind. There is no place for weaklings in this herd. Either you keep up and mind the rules or you’re on your own. That’s how it has always worked.

The sun rises slowly as the day progresses and the herd grows thirsty in the pasture. A few brave sheep even approach the shepherd to cry out for a drink. But it takes the shepherd hours to realize that they are even there because he is so preoccupied with writing the thirty-eighth chapter of his new book “The Great Pasture Manual: The Chief Under-Shepherds Guide to Sheep, Their Stupidity, And How To Get More Wool Out Of Them.” Finally he looks up as their pitiful cries grow louder.

“YOU’RE ALL ONLY THIRSTY BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T PAY ATTENTION WHEN I GAVE MY LECTURE LAST WEEK ON PROPER WELL-DIGGING TECHNIQUES!”

The sheep do seem to recall that the shepherd had given a lecture but the shepherd had announced he was going to teach them how to find water and then spent the entire hour yelling about how wrong the shepherds were teaching sheep in other pastures. They now knew a lot about not speaking to other sheep or listening to other shepherds but the part about finding water was still very unclear.

At last, the shepherd tires of the bleating and rises, walking to stand before the herd.

“THE GREAT OVERSHEPHERD HAS TOLD ME THAT IF YOU WANT WATER YOU’LL HAVE TO WORK FOR IT,” he screams, “I’LL NEED AT LEAST 10% OF YOUR WOOL PLUS ANOTHER 10% SO I CAN HIRE SOME NEW SHEPHERDS TO STEAL SHEEP FROM OTHER PASTURES. ANY OF YOU WHO AGREE COME DOWN HERE TO THE FRONT AND KNEEL DOWN TO GET SHORN.”

The sheep have little choice but to obey. After all, this shepherd is the only one who can tell them where the water can be found and they won’t last long without it. And after giving up their wool, each receives a sip of tepid water. It is just enough to keep them alive but leaves them still thirsty.

“AND NOW IT’S TIME FOR OUR OUTREACH!” yells the Chief Undershepherd and the sheep give a silent groan but none dare complain too loudly lest the shepherd here and try to give them “comforting counsel” with the the heavy rod he held in his hand. As they do each week, the sheep begin to trot around the perimeter of the pasture, bleating at the top of their lungs to let all the sheep outside know exactly how wonderful this pasture is and how good the the Chief Undersheperd is.

A few of the sheep wonder if there really is a Great Overshepherd or if the tyrannical shepherd has just invented him to scare the sheep. If He is there, they decide, He must not like sheep very much. Otherwise, they think he would have sent them a better shepherd. Perhaps even one who would give his life for his sheep.

70 thoughts on “Shepherds”

  1. It’s all the sheep’s fault – such an ungodly philosophy. πŸ™

    So grateful that Jesus took my blame upon HIMSELF and loves and forgives me.

    1. AND our Shepherd holds us close to His heart. Isaiah 40:11. πŸ™‚

      That’s quite a different picture than breaking legs and such isn’t it? πŸ˜₯

  2. I love that. Thanks for reminding me yet again just how wonderful our Lord is, to not just care about us but to actually take our place. He wasn’t just a shepherd, he became a sheep too.

    1. I was very glad when I finally realized I am not a sheep, and that I do not need a Chief Undersheperd, because there is no Great Oversheperd.

  3. “Otherwise, they think he would have sent them a better shepherd. Perhaps even one who would give his life for his sheep. ”

    Fortunately, that’s exactly what happened. Although the type of undershepherd you described doesn’t know about this

    1. That’s because the Undershepherd is concerned with flock-building. The sheep he already has are contained by the big fence. Occasionally, one will find a hole in the fence, but is afraid to leave because he has been told that those are not sheep on the other side of the fence, but rather wolves wearing the carcasses of the escaped sheep.

  4. This post is just a reminder of the relief I felt once I finally realized that the God of the Bible is in fact, NOT the same god of the Baptists…and I have nothing but pity for them…

  5. Ouch, that has to hurt. A great parable. Spot on, Well done.

    I heard that over and over again. “The idea to remember about Psalm 23 is that sheep are dumb.”

  6. The 10% wool is the big doctrine that is going to come crashing down in the next few years. It is sinister on many levels the more one studies the topic.

    A little bit of tepid water….I often hear mentions of eternal security as though it is an embarrassment to bring it up. “Yeah, there’s eternal security and all that, but….”

    1. The 10% wool doctrine won’t go quietly. Even though I believe there are probably more and more IFB pastors who secretly believe it’s unbiblical, they will never admit it because 1) it will show they were wrong and their pride won’t let them admit it, 2) it will require them to allow the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of believers concerning how much to give, and 3) it would cause great dissension in the IFB ranks. Can you imagine a big shot IFB pastor at some big conference saying “honorary doctors, perhaps we were wrong about tithing”? He’d be labeled a heretic and permanently banned from the club.

      1. It might require them to actually use the faith they preach so much about. If they actually preached that people ought to ask God how much they should give rather than demanding a full tithe (from your gross income not your net) they’re afraid people will give less. They might have to give up all those nice vacations and the wife shopping at Elder Beerman. πŸ‘Ώ

    1. Yes and always being told they’re not doing enough, giving enough, and they’re always wrong! But thank God there are some very good pastors out there and we finally found one. Unfortunately, he’s recently been diagnosed with melanoma. I would appreciate prayers for him. Of all the pastors we’ve had at both the church in Michigan and now here in Canada, he’s the best! πŸ˜€

  7. This reminds me of our MOG who used to take a sinister joy in telling the story a little differently. He’d say the shepherd would BREAK the legs of the wandering sheep so that they’d learn better the next time. I remember thinking how cruel God must be waiting to stomp us into the ground when we screw up. πŸ‘Ώ

    Then I left the IFB and was told afterwards (by a member)that it was the CHURCH’s responibility to chastize people. I guess they have to express their hate somehow….why not attack er… um..”chastize” those who try to escape your cult eh?

    It’s sad that I had to leave the “godly chosen Ones” to actually learn about God. 😐

      1. So true. I think we covered that here once right? Anyway, as a part of the “sheeple” you don’t know what is true or false when coming from the MOG. You just do what you’re told or face the consequences. πŸ‘Ώ

        Being on the other side has been the best part of the rest of my life!

    1. I had forgotten that illustration. Shudder. So great how they’d look no farther than book of illustrations written by their fav MOG to back up the point they want to make. Forget about verifying the facts.

      1. Wait, is that leg-breaking illustration not true? I always wondered why the rod and staff were a comfort to David if they were what he used to break sheep legs! It is so good to know that it came out of a sick MOG mind, not out of true history! Yay for sheep! πŸ™‚

    2. Oh, yes, entirely fabricated. I’ve tended sheep, and really like them in spite of themselves (and I must say that sheep most certainly are dumb – but all domesticated animals are, that’s sort of the definition of domesticated. And sheep are positively brilliant compared to cows). Anyway, breaking a sheep’s legs would almost certainly kill the sheep from trauma and shock. I’ve seen it happen from natural breaks before.

  8. Yeah, breaking the legs of your sheep is just ridiculous…but if you question the MOG, you would be taken to the back and set straight. There is no way the MOG would ever admit that he had misspoken or told the congregation something false.

  9. Wow, this was a well-written, yet depressing post. I can especially relate to the “air of importance” that surrounds the “mog” and how after being kept so thirsty and down trotten we are supposed to tell people how great out “church” was and get people to come. One of the big blessings of being out is feeling so proud of my church and being able to invite people wholly trusting they will encounter genuine welcome and preaching that is loving and true.

    1. Right on.

      “Come to my IFB church this Sunday and get yelled at too. And here’s a tip, when the blowhard says something that offends you, that’s what we call “conviction”. And remember, if you don’t feel like you got yelled at enough, you can come back Sunday night for more.”

        1. Heck, if the Spirit moved, you can take Wednesday night off too.

          But it will be noted on the attendance sheet. πŸ˜€

        2. I’m in the middle of this experiment. I’ll let you know if my students are teacherless anytime soon.

        3. Scorpio, I know you were kidding, but at my church there really is an attendance sheet for the teachers. Attendance is taken on your way in AND on your way out. Irritating! 😑

  10. I was a very literally minded little fella and I secretly thought the shepherd was daft to risk his life for a sheep or two. I wouldn’t have stuck around to meet the wolf for the sake of a few sheep – even if they were mine.

    Which doesn’t do much for the parable – of course, I wasn’t fool enough to say this as a kid, that really would have cut me off at the knees.

    And yes, sheep are incredibly stupid – though for some reasons lambs aren’t. It’s really weird watching them change from bright little things to these really stupid beasts.

    1. I would think as the sheep grow older, it’s easier to just give over themselves to the shepherd’s care and concentrate on eating, sleeping and drinking. They get worn down and desensitized to the wonders around them. They get weighed down by the growing weight they carry around. And when they are shorn, it’s like they are freed and feel new and fresh. Like we feel when we shed the fundy chains and realize there is a great big, wonderful world around us.

  11. “…and then spent the entire hour yelling about how wrong the shepherds were teaching sheep in other pastures.”

    This is brilliant. I guess there are Catholic sheperds out there.

    1. I, too, feel for the wounded sheep… and for those non-sheep who have never had the life-altering encounter with the Living Christ… they follow the rules, hoping to be taken for a sheep, but they are not His.

  12. Well done Darrel. The photo is a killer for me. My dad (who did lots of crazy things) once bought a flock of sheep. He was shocked how much tending they needed, and they did have this way of looking at you with hope and need. He found it overwhelming. Being the smartass that I am I told him he should leave shepherding to Jesus.

  13. I find I have (almost) nothing to add to this post. Be thay sheeps or be they goats the fundie in the MOg fog will drive them along. He says, “Keep your eyes on me and I’ll see you through”, but if we turn around and look back at the bodies he has left for dead along the way we will see “What big Ears he has… and what big eyes he has, and what a big nose he has.. and what big, sharp teeth he has.”

  14. This one made my heart hurt for all the years that I let myself be controlled by one of these tyrants.

    As we approach this amazing week when we think about what our shepherd has done for us and how much He cares for us and gives to us it makes my heart hurt for all those still living in fear and frustration. I long for them all to be able to witness the grace, mercy, and love of our risen Savior.

  15. This reminds me of what my former self-important under-shepherd and Bible college president often said, “90% of all counselling issues can be solved by attending church and listening to my sermons.”

  16. By the way Darrell, since moving the site you have placed yourself on the wrong side of the Great Firewall in China. No access without VPN. 😐

    1. Very funny! I kept thinking “I hope the actor playing the “shepard” didn’t have bad breath during that scene… “get the flock outta here” πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

    1. Yes, how is it okay for this stuff to be in CHURCH! Cute and all, but not for church. :*( I’m just not comfortable with this type of “worship” anymore.

    1. HAHAHAHAAAAAA Ohhhhh thank you for that. I was all angry over the stupid wiggle worm song, but that helped my mood tremendously. πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

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