“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” John 10:14-15 (ESV)
The shepherds were watching their flocks at night. Why? There are dangers that lurk in the darkness and true shepherds watch for their sheep in the dark times. Of course, I am talking about pastors as good shepherds. Good pastors equip the sheep to deal with their dark culture! If shepherds aren’t equipping their sheep for the issues of their day they are not following Jesus’ example to shepherd. Jesus said “I am the good shepherd” (John 10)! Jesus was not afraid of speaking about the issues of His day, or for that matter confronting the powers to be, whether Roman or religious! He called Herod a fox, which wasn’t a complement (Luke 13:32) and Pharisees white washed tombs (Matthew 23:27). Now I am not saying we should start throwing names at others, but the point is, Jesus was not afraid of upsetting people by acknowledging their true intent and speaking the truth. Pastors need to speak as true, good shepherds, and watch over their sheep during this night season.
Pastors are not meant to tickle ears (2 Timothy 4:2-5), but to preach the full gospel, even if/when it offends! The cross offends and is considered foolish (1 Corinthians 1:18). But the word of God impacts and shapes the atmosphere. Standing for and preaching on Biblical values can divide, just as a sword divides between soul and spirit, bone and marrow (Hebrews 4:12). If pastors aren’t preparing their flock for dealing with the things lurking in the darkness, they are not being a good shepherd. Jesus sent His disciples out into the darkness as shrewd snakes and innocent doves (Matthew 10:16). David is said to have shepherded his people with skillful hands and integrity of character (Psalm 78:72). David had been entrusted with what was dearest to God’s heart because he was a man after His heart (Acts 13:22, 1 Samuel 13:14). Likewise, your pastor has been entrusted with God’s sheep, and a stricter judgment is upon him because of that (James 3:1). Pray for your pastor! Pray that he will be bold and courageous, to speak the full word of God even when it offends people. Pray that he would pastor the flock with integrity and character. Pray that he would watch over the flock by night, being ready to do whatever is necessary to protect his sheep from demonic wolves lurking around. Pray that God would give him wisdom to equip his flock for the day/night that we live in. Thank the Lord for your pastor. Ask God to bless him and his family over the Christmas season!