HEAR, LISTEN and FOLLOW
The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. -John 10:3
Just when you thought it’s about time to leave and move on, good things happen that makes you realize that it’s still worth one more shot. just lately, I’ve been earnestly asking God if it was His will that I resign as the shepherd of His flock and move on. It even coincided with the arrival of a new pastor in our church, taking that as an affirmation from God that it was indeed time for me to leave. I felt that the YPN needed a new shepherd’s voice to lead them into new pastures. There was no Word for it, though.
I was kind of feeling that way simply because the YPN has reached a point where I felt voiceless to lead them into going where they’re supposed to be going.
A Voiceless Shepherd
It all started when it was proposed that we move the friday night “youth service” because most of the leaders cannot attend coz of conflicting scheds. So we agreed. There were already problems then but it only escalated things into a graver situation.
Since the youth service was moved after the regular service, most of them are now itching to go home or too hungry to attend “another” service. Everytime I stood on the pulpit I could discern the thick cloud of uneasiness among the youth. On top of that, nobody listens anymore to what I’m saying in the front.
“But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me.” -Psalm 81:11
“But if you do not listen, I will weep in secret because of your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly, overflowing with tears, because the LORD’s flock will be taken captive.” -Jeremiah 13:17
Things went that way for many weeks, the supposed service became a mere after- service meetings which was often cancelled because the elders often held meeting after the service too.
I became a voiceless shepherd. Meaning, youth service was a way for me to let them know which direction they should be going in matters of life and godliness. and without that, they lost the voice they need to listen to know which direction to go.
The Scattered Flock
Then came the nightmare of every shepherd. SHEEPS SCATTERING, WANDERING AWAY AND GOING ASTRAY! Outside they seemed Ok. Waking up, going to school or work. I chat with them on Sundays and they seemed ok. I ask how they’re doing and all I get is the usual smile followed by the usual remark “OK lang, pas.” But it’s in the little details that you get hints of the problem.
I read their facebook statuses and i could see hints of “something’s not right with this kid.” It’s in the little details, some begin complaining about the hardships of the ministries they’re involved in, wanting time off in the ministry. Others are either skipping sunday church or arriving very late. Its in the little details but some hints are obvious enough to be noticed, a kid sitting during the whole sermon, looking down and staring at nothing, like a zombie.
Then I get shocked by news that some are involved in questionable relationships, you hear news of a kid undergoing depression, stuck in a quagmire of a personal problem and feeling powerless to overcome it. Everybody seemed to have forgotten they where christians and was acting as though they were not. It was total spiritual anarchy of cataclysmic proportions.
The Master Shepherd took over
It was one night that I felt so overwhelmed with all these problems that I cried to God. bursting off in tears which such transparency I must’ve shook heaven with all of that anguish, regret and cries of pain. It pains to know they are losing their way like that. Because I know that their failure to live a life in Christ is my failure as a shepherd of His flock. And I pain for God to see them acting that way.
I felt inadequent before God. That’s when grace once again took over. And I told Him I was weary of trying. And, God told me to quit trying. It sounded like a revelation, but it felt like God’s grace in action because I got it on a deeper level. I’m going to quit trying and start doing. Trying is exhausting, doing is exhilirating.
As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. -Ezek 34:12
“Get back on preaching the Word. Call them back and lead them to where they’re supposed to be heading.” And so it was. Encouraged once again. I will stop trying and start doing. I don’t how I should start again but I know I’ll just have to do it.
“Hear the word of the LORD, O nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: ‘He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd. ‘-Jeremiah 31:10
I realize more than ever that sheep need the shepherd’s voice or else they will wander astray. But my only prayer is that they would HEAR, LISTEN and FOLLOW my voice.