Ordination Service – August 15, 2021
While we have gathered to celebrate the ordination of Josh, we do well to remember that we have only one true Chief Shepherd, Jesus himself. So, while there are many things that a good elder or pastor must do, following Christ’s lead is the first and foremost. Let us see how Jesus acts as a Good Shepherd by going to one of the most well-known passages in teh Bible, Psalm 23.
1. Pastors provide provision
The Psalm starts out by noting that God has given the persecuted David all he needs – he has no wants. How are we to do this? The very next lines says how God does it – he makes him lie down in green pastures. Jesus did this himself! In the feeding of the 5,000, Mark tells us that Jesus made them sit down on the “green grass.” The disciples, then, simply passed out what Jesus was able to miraculously provide. John relates the Spirit to comforting, life giving water. These are the provisions of Jesus, and we simply point people to him. Press Jesus upon our people, for he is the provision for all their needs.
2. Pastors provide protection
David does not fear because God is with him, even in the valley of the shadow of death. We can think at times that this valley is only present when death comes close; yet, for David, it seems to be the reality in which he lives. He walks there. As do we. Ephesians 2 and Galatians 1 both speak to the same reality: this is a present evil age. Let us never allow our sheep to be comfortable here. Our job is not to make the valley more palatable, but to get our sheep through it.
3. Pastors provide promise
David’s meal, and lavish provisions, are in front of his enemies. Those who thought little of him, who wished him dead, get to watch as the God and Lord of the Universe pours out glory on David. This is not a one-time event, but the nature of being in the presence of God forever. This is our home. Not the valley. We are not to grow comfortable with death, wolves, and pain. Long for something better! Give our sheep a better picture of home, that they might grow restless waiting for their rest.