My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Good Shepherd Sunday

Today we read from the Gospel of John, chapter 10. Jesus identifies himself as our Good Shepherd. I believe that our relative unfamiliarity with sheep and shepherding has contributed to people's inaccurate perceptions of what God is like and how He relates to us.

Apart from being guided by Scripture, folks conceptualize God according to what they do know. I suggest that two common models for God nowadays are God as Boss and God as Psychotherapist.

Your boss is a person whose role it is always to evaluate you by your performance. And he compensates you according to that evaluation. A boss is a person who is concerned first and foremost about the bottom line, who judges success on the basis of dollar signs, numerical growth, and good PR. At least that’s how many people think of their bosses and unfortunately that’s how many people think of God.

Or is God more like a psychotherapist? According to that frame of mind, God’s main job is to help us with our problems, to make us feel better about ourselves, to give us tools to improve our interpersonal relationships. And make no mistake, God does help us with our problems and all that and He does give us comfort and peace and a healthy understanding of our value. But God is not the spiritual equivalent of a hot tub who simply wants to massage our tired and aching emotions. I’m not putting down therapists or hot tubs, only saying that there is much more to God than that.

What do shepherds do? They feed the flock and defend it from wolves and bears. They lead the flock to greener pastures. And, if necessary, the good shepherd gives his life to save the sheep. This is how God relates to us. And Jesus continues to shepherd His flock through His appointed undershepherds who feed the lambs with words of reconciliation and forgiveness and defend them from spiritual predators.

Sphere: Related Content


Anonymous said...

Good to be a sheep!

Anonymous said...

Pastor, are you a Shepard or a Cowboy?

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

Well, in spite of the rumor that I am the Lone Ranger (who wasn't actually a cow herder), I'd like to see myself as a shepherd.

New Curriculum at Concordia Theological Seminary