DEVOTIONS @ 205.825.9633
Senior Minister Ricky A. Woods
@ 8:15am & 7:15pm
Dial (205) 825-9633 a few minutes ahead of the scheduled start time.
P.S. REMEMBER, DON'T ANNOUNCE YOURSELF AFTER THE START TIME AND PLEASE PUT YOUR PHONE ON MUTE!
Dr Gardner Taylor once told me to never forget that the Lord is in love with his people. He is so much in love with them that He has called us to serve them. In essence, as clergy we are the embodiment of God’s faithfulness to His people by always sending someone to serve them, care for them and lead them in His name.
It has been more than thirty years since Dr. Taylor and I had that conversation on a Detroit street after dinner. It came at a critical time in my ministry as I pondered the possibility of leaving the church I was currently serving. I was frustrated by my perceived lack of progress and wondered if the grass could be greener in other pastures.
Dr Taylor’s wise words took the focus off ministry serving the preacher’s interest instead of the interest of the people and God.
Jeremiah’s ministry was anything but productive by the standards of his day or ours. He did not have a growing congregation, and his words were often met with ridicule and rebuke more than affirmation and acceptance.
Although Jeremiah’s sermons often spoke of pending judgment because of rebellion, idolatry and oppression, his words were always delivered with the hope of repentance and change because Jeremiah had a heart for the people.
In today’s passage God contrasted the shepherds that serve their own interest versus the shepherds that serve God’s interest. Self -serving shepherds scatter the sheep and refuse to care for them, they see the sheep as the means to an end. The shepherds that God rises up will tend to the sheep in ways that the sheep will feel secure.
When I have counseled churches that were searching for a pastor, I have told them the most important question is not training, education or experience in ministry. The most important question is will he/she love the congregation? Do they have the ability to look beyond your flaws as well as their own desires and love you?
To be the shepherd that Jeremiah speaks of in this passage that God will use requires not only a love for God but a love for God’s people as well. Besides, it is the only reason we pastors have a job because God is in love with his people.