Sheep need a shepherd – that’s a no brainer in marketplace terms. But Shepherds surely have lots of other choices, especially these days; brand ambassador, social media manager, youtube star – all just as soul-enhancing as shepherding, right?
So why do reasonably sane people with lots of other choices become shepherds?
Now, if you’re a pastor, forgive me, but you’re probably way off track, already.
You see, pastors don’t seem to even hear the word shepherd when you say shepherd, they hear “pastor”. They start thinking about God’s calling, commissioning, anointing.
They think about people.
But, just try for a moment, to think like a real proper shepherd. King David wasn’t pastoring people, he was shepherding sheep.
Okay, yeah, his dad probably made him. But then why did Jesse choose that?
Real life shepherds, look at you weird if you ask them that question.
They look at you the same way my niece looks at me when I ask her why she hasn’t got her PJs on and brushed her teeth ready for bed even though I’ve asked her three times already.
Like, it’s a dumb question.
Like, I should know the answer.
VALUE – MONEY – INCOME – PROFIT – Marketplace.
Is this why Jesus chose marketplace disciples??
Because they would NOT think like pastors?
Maybe the reason Jesus and all of his disciples were the best people to grow the church were because they thought like business people not church people.
Maybe Jesus wanted His church to be… wait for it, pastors, brace yourself… profitable!
Now – you’re going to be shocked because I won’t think like you think.
You’ll probably even think I’m way off.
I’m wrong …
But ask yourself – seriously.
Am I perverting the way God made things?
or am I just saying it the way God made it?
Because if I’m perverting or twisting God’s ways then you can call me demonic…
But if I’m just pointing out God’s ways to you, you have to at least listen to what I say, right?
Even if you don’t like it.
It’s going to HELP you.
When King David wrote about God, he wrote about a Shepherd who provided ALL the needs of his flock (Psalm 23). That Shepherd needed to be pretty well resourced, right?
This Shepherd didn’t just let us hear his voice on Sundays, but he got in the kitchen and laid on a feast for us (even when our enemies were in our face), who was with us during our worst times, and who made sure our cup was overflowing.
Shepherds were the ones who got the call from the angels at the birth of Christ (Luke 2)
More than one.
OUT at night … living where the sheep lived.
They weren’t namby pamby “Sunday is like a work day for me” pastors.
They were doing the long hours, the midnight shift.
Why? Because sheep herds need more protection during the night than during the day.
How many night shift pastors do you know?
I don’t mean the occasional late night phone call.
I mean spending EVERY NIGHT with your flock? You know, like small business marketplace people usually do.
Most pastors I know are working way too hard and simultaneously not hard enough. They’re working too hard at shepherdy things and not nearly hard enough at helping sheep get their sheepy things done. Some are so out of touch with sheepy things they barely know what functioning like a sheep looks like anymore.
Is this why Paul continued in the marketplace?
To protect against church-think?
How do you do it?
Add value to sheep.
Forget “hear my voice” – they’ve been doing that.
And it hasn’t helped you or them that much – really, has it??
Well, has it?
Give ’em good pastures, an environment with:
– good location
Get ’em breeding – duplicating themself – that’s the number 1 skill a profitable shepherd ensures his sheep maintain. Lambing season is the highlight – and it’s not just because lambs are cuter than most sheepy baa baas. A good shepherd will intervene in all sorts of unnatural ways to get sheep doing what should come naturally!
Take your sheep to market, let them see demand and supply in action, up close and personal.
Even if they’re not producing lambs for you, at least fleece them!
Hello, pastor? Remember, how I said to stop thinking like a pastor…
Yes, I am seriously suggesting you fleece your flock. That’s what they’re there for.
Shepherds know that when they take value from the sheep, they are actually giving value to the sheep. Did you ever hear about Shrek, the kiwi sheep that got lost for 6 years. His fleece was so heavy it could have caused chronic issues:
- The weight was so heavy he could barely get up
- The wool covered much of his eyes, he could barely see
- The thick coat could’ve caused heat stress
Shrek continued growing on his own, but no-one benefited from it until his Shepherd found him. Shrek was growing, but worse off. There were no woolly jumpers for customers those 6 winters – the marketplace was worse off, and no payday either – the shepherd was worse off.
You see, when you take value from sheep, you do three things:
1. take burdens from them, and
2. bring provision to yourself, and
3. bring value to the marketplace.
All marketplace people know that customers have two choices when dealing with your business.
They can either keep their problem, or keep their money.
They can stay hungry, or buy food from you.
They can stay bored, or buy a movie ticket from you.
They can get frustrated trying to write a blog piece that sells, or get you to write for them (call me ;-).
Taking their money helps them function better. They get better results. They literally feel better about themselves. And they start to grow anew.
I’m not talking about gouging them for your own selfish benefit. I’m not talking about short-term opportunists here. I’m talking about the natural way, the way things are, and always have been, designed to work. I’m talking about a fair, mutual, exchange of value here.
Good shepherds help protect their value. They invest in sheep dip. They weed out the thistles in the paddock and fertilise the clover and alfalfa.
And they fence sheep in. Jesus called it a door (John 10:7).
Sheep without a shepherd, or sheep with a shepherd that is just a hireling, are like sheep with a wolf.
That’s the kind of future we don’t want for our flocks (yes, I’ve started talking about people, now).
Scattered – distracted. Shepherds remind us of what is important, they focus us. They intervene when we are going astray.
Scattered – disparate. Shepherds fence us off from disunity, and directionless wanderings. They unify us. They show us the quickest path to provision.
Scattered – unproductive. Shepherds make us work together, so we, well, work. We reproduce another generation. We know how to grow a fleece – on a timetable. Our milk flows (mmm goat’s cheese). Eventually, our Shepherd might even chuck us on the barbeque on Australia Day!
Sadly, many pastors are scattered, too. My hope and purpose for this blog post is that it helps us all start fleecing and focusing and stop scattering.
Marketplace shepherds need to know these skills, too.
We all need to be reminded of Jesus’ words to Peter.
Do you love me?
Feed my sheep.
Feed them real sheep food; help them focus on growing profits, regularly, so that yielding their annual profits to you is not only a natural part of life for them, it’s a real weight off their shoulders.
Otherwise, you’re just leaving them useless and helpless, like youtube stars to the slaughter.