A shepherd cares for the sheep; the rancher cares for the production. I ask a third question; how can we encourage the sheep to reproduce?
We have a farmer neighbor that gives us his runt sheep every year. I call him a farmer because of how he deals with his sheep. He is good with them and keeps them healthy, but only for the purpose of his sheep is to make him money. As a matter of fact he complains that the runt sheep will decrease production for the other sheep that share a ewe. Because of this he will just let the runts die. This is how we get our sheep, but that is how we get our sheep.
My wife on the other hand is a shepherd. We had a lamb that was just acting up. He wasn’t looking too good and I was pretty sure it was going to die. I was ready to put it out of its misery, but my wife wanted to work with it. She gives the sheep their all. She is out there first thing in the morning feeding them a bottle and late at night feeding them again. Because we don’t dock their tails they get messy at times while they are young, and sure enough my wife is the one to clean them.
She is a true shepherd. We have some farmer pastors that just want to build something. It isn’t only about being rich, but it seems to be the pride of building a following. There may be time for that, but I’ve never felt comfortable in that calling. The shepherds heart looks after the sheep. Cares for them and even cleans up their mess at times.
However, it doesn’t stop there. The shepherd will work with the sheep so they are ready, willing, and able to reproduce. The pastors do hold a great responsibility, not necessarily to build the church, but to equip the people in the church to reproduce other believers.
For more on this thought listen to the audio file. If you enjoy listening then subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.