Ezekiel 34:2-6 gives us a picture of a Pastor’s responsibility to his congregation. The passage gives us both the “do’s” and the “don’ts” of a Pastor’s ministry.
“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?…but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.”
A Pastor’s responsibility is very great. He is charged by the Word of God to “feed the flock”. I believe that feeding the flock implies feeding God’s people His Word. It is the Shepherd, or, Pastor’s responsibility to not only understand and study the Bible for himself, but also to pass on his knowledge to the members of his church through teaching and preaching.
Some of the Shepherds in this passage were guilty of not feeding the Word of God to their flocks, however, teaching and preaching are not a Pastor’s only obligations. The Shepherds are also rebuked in this passage for not strengthening the diseased, healing the sick and binding up the broken. I believe this is a picture of the tender care a Pastor ought to take of his church. He ought not to see his flock struggling under the weight of their sins. Rather, it is his sacred duty to lovingly confront, rebuke and restore those who have gone astray into sin. This text gives a picture of the healing and forgiveness that are available to sinners if only the Shepherd would care enough to minister to his people.
The passage goes on to say that these wayward Shepherds have neglected to seek the lost, and to bring back those who have strayed. I believe this is an area in which many Pastor’s have neglected their duty. A Pastor must be actively involved in reaching the lost. He cannot organize an outreach program and delegate it to others in his church. He must be personally involved in bringing souls to Jesus. Furthermore, many Pastors are guilty of watching a church member stop being faithful to church and then eventually dropping out altogether. This is a failure of Pastoral duty. The Shepherd of the flock must go after those who have strayed from the fold. I believe Pastors are responsible for seeking out the wayward members of their churches. He should not let them quit the Christian life, rather, he ought to pray for them, counsel them, and do what he can to draw them back.
A Pastor’s position is highly esteemed in scripture. Not only is he responsible to his flock, but his flock also has a responsibility toward him. This will be discussed in a subsequent article.