John 10: 9-14, "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine."
Titus 1:10-13, “For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: 11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. 12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. 13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;”
*Note: When the author renders the word 'Church' as seen, he is referring to the modern day, Corporate Entity, Institutional 'Church' System we are all familiar with. When he renders the word in all lower case letters, (church) he is referring to Christ's Authentic Home based church.
To preface this article I would like to say that I am grateful to the men who have tutored me as their pastor when I was an infant in Christ. They taught me the fundamentals of the faith and were gracious and patient. These men were kind and gentle as they guided me onward in my Christian walk and I have the utmost respect for them. That being said, I believe there are many others like them who try and Protect and feed their flocks as best they can. This piece at times will sound trenchant, maybe a little harsh, but please know that I am making a distinction between those who serve admirably and those who do not. The pastor-type I will address as "a hireling" will become the crux of my subject. To all of those who may take offense in this message, I ask for leniency and that we remember Psalm 119:165, "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them." I'll be hiding behind this verse the rest of the way. May the Lord give us grace to have our eyes opened to the truth revealed within.
What a subtle story we see here in John 10. I've never really noticed it before until a friend of mine pointed it out, but this sounds a lot like how pastors today are brought into a Corporate run, Main-Stream, Institutional 'Church.' I often tell people that once we stop thinking "Institutionally," Bible doctrine becomes academic. In other words, the Institution is where these man-made traditions come from. Take away the traditions from the Institution, and we’ll have understanding. Topics in Scripture become clearer and more concise. I'd like to point out some consistencies regarding what our Lord is teaching. Then, I want us to observe from our modern day fraternity of clergymen, how they come to their current positions and what they are capable of doing to the 'Churches' they claim to be 'called' to.
When a pastor today takes on a new 'Church' to lead, he says that he was, "called." Why? Because that is what he’s been taught by his mentors and instructors in the Institutional ‘Church’ and the Bible Colleges they Procreated. "I was called to pastor, 'Praise The Lord, I Finally Got A Job, Baptist 'Church!' "(I'm sure that we are all happy for him). Another pastor is imported from afar to 'pastor' a different 'Church,' and so on. By and large, these men compete for positions as head, or junior pastors by a Process called, 'Campaigning,' although some call it 'Candidating.' Whichever word one uses, this has become a standard practice in most Institutional ‘Churches.’
To campaign for a position as head pastor, one is to preach a series of messages so that the congregant can see what kind of 'candidate' he is. It is simply an election Process. He shows off what he can do, so the flock can determine if they want another look before making an offer, or ("Calling him to be their pastor"). It's also a recruiting Process. Prayer meetings, mixed in with Interviews are given from the Deacon Board (or Pulpit Committee) to see if this man meets their required agenda. If the assembly likes him, and he get's enough votes, he is hired. But, before he accepts this new "calling," he has to come to an agreement of how much 'faith' (in the form of a paycheck) he can count on from his new Employer. He says that he was 'called,' and the 'Church' says, that 'they called him.' Seems like there's a whole lot of 'calling" going on. Both sides seem to be on the same page. Hmm...I wonder?
Do you know what Jesus calls him? He calls him, 'an hireling.' He becomes a hired hand. Actually, the Webster's 1828 Dictionary has a rather striking definition of the word. HIRELING, a. One who is hired, or who serves for wages. 2. A mercenary; a Prostitute.Either definition can be applied to many of the men who "serve" in today's Institutional Corporate 'Churches' with the title, "Pastor," for some are mercenaries and some act as Prostitutes. Some might ask, "A Prostitute? How can that be?" That's a fair question and I believe it deserves a fair answer. A husband or wife loves because they care, not because they're paid to love. A Prostitute loves too; only when the pay stops, so do they. No pay, no love! They move onto another client. So goes a mercenary or Prostitute type of a roving 'pastor.' How many times have we seen a pastor "called" to another "work," when the tithing well of support runs dry? Too many, I'm sure! (Psalm 119:165).
This man is not home-grown into the congregation. He is imported from either another 'Church,' or is adopted straight out of Bible College. Very few are home grown. Some start from scratch, win souls and bring them into the fold before they become an Institution. The new babes in Christ become the nucleus of the pastor's source of funding through indoctrination. This may not be the pastor's initial intent, but the pieces are in place to start siphoning the funds needed to put a down payment on a facility. But, the vast majority of 'Churches' out there are burdened with the enormous expense of a building and a staff already in place. Someone might Protest, "So WHAT?" I'll tell ya, 'So what?' The sheep don't really know him! As in the past, a new pastor will come in, start new building Projects or expensive Programs and when things start to tighten up financially, and the financial wolves come to swallow up the 'Church,' he leaves. The sheep are left holding the bag, screaming that they are being devoured. (Psalm 119:165).
But, this works two ways. Today there are a lot of 'Church' members who seek after a pastor. Not so much as to get closer to God, but for their own errant perception of what a pastor is for. In Judges 17 we read about the story of a man named Micah. The times he lives in is when there was no king in Israel and everybody did what was right in their own eyes. The story goes that Micah took eleven hundred shekels of silver from his mother and sets it aside. He tells her that he took the money and would return it to her. She is relieved and explains to him that she set aside that money for the LORD. But what she really wanted to do with it is make a graven image unto the LORD much like our Catholic friends do today.
How many homes do we drive by to see a statue of Mary in a front yard? They buy and have graven statues made of the 'Saints," Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Anyway, after he says he will return the money, she says she was saving it to make a graven image (a god) for him. He is a Hebrew, and knows it is forbidden to make any graven images, but he returns the money anyway, and let's her go on with her plan. She goes off to the founder and puts two hundred shekels down for the new 'god.' Some time after it arrives, I guess the 'god' grows on him because, before we know it, they're 'gods' all over the place! His house is called "a house of gods." Not exactly the most spiritual of homes in the neighborhood, am I right? Okay, now that we've set the stage, let's move forward...
In verses 7-12, the story continues,..."And there was a young man out of Bethlehemjudah of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there. 8 And the man departed out of the city from Bethlehemjudah to sojourn where he could find a place: and he came to mount Ephraim to the house of Micah, as he journeyed. 9 And Micah said unto him, Whence comest thou? And he said unto him, I am a Levite of Bethlehemjudah, and I go to sojourn where I may find a place. 10 And Micah said unto him, Dwell with me, and be unto me a father and a priest, and I will give thee ten shekels of silver by the year, and a suit of apparel, and thy victuals. So the Levite went in. 11 And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons. 12 And Micah consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah."
Here was a young man 'of the family of 'Judah,' who was a Levite. A good number of Levites were mixed in with each tribe, so there is no contradiction here. This young man is traveling and was looking for a place to stay and perhaps get a job. He comes to this 'house of gods,' and has an interview with Micah, who is at least old enough to be the younger man's father. Micah hires the young man who is asked to be Micah's priest and a 'father' unto him (in the spiritual sense). Sounds more like Catholicism more and more, doesn't it? Micah tells the Levite that he will be paid ten shekels a year, a suit of clothes and "victuals" (food and Provisions). The Levite accepts and goes in and is content to dwell with Micah. I mean, why wouldn't he? Just because he's a Levite, this older man is offering him a 'free lunch!' ~ vs 10-11. Micah consecrates the young man, and he becomes, (Uh-hummmm!), Micah's "priest."
Note, that in Micah's mind, God, the Mosaic Law or the sons of Aaron have nothing to say about any of this. Micah justifies everything he is about to do on his own. Micah consecrates him all by himself! WOW! I wonder where he got the authority to do that? This young man wasn't even an actual Aaronic priest! Micah gave him a self-Proclaimed title of 'Priest.' I guess it sounded authentic enough to impress his friends. I mean, technically the young man was a Levite, and technically, Micah did consecrate him a 'priest,' so, in Micah's mind, technically, he was an actual Levitical priest. You know; just like the pope is technically the "Vicar of Christ" just because someone Proclaims him to be. Yeah,... right! I guess we can rationalize having anything if we want it bad enough, couldn't we? Because of this mind-set, Micah has a "Levite Priest" all to himself! I can hear Micah bragging to his neighbor now: "I have my own personal Levite Priest! See if you can top that, Maury!" Now, Micah has a new 'god' to add to his collection! How much more Baloney can we heap onto this spiritual sandwich? (Psalm 119:165).
In verse 13 Micah says it all, "Then said Micah, Now know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest." He now thinks that he has his ticket punched for blessings on his life! Micah feels that he has 'covered all his bases' as far as his acceptance before God is concerned, just because he has all of his idols and even a so-called "Levite priest" in his household. Talk about works salvation and idol worship! And, not only did the father (Micah) gain 'a son,' but he also gained another 'father!' "My son, the father! I'm so Proud!" Go figure! How many times, even within the Protestant culture, do we hear of congregants who will not make a move, of any kind, without consulting with their pastor first? Over the years, I've actually heard members ask their pastors, "Pastor, what kind of toothpaste should I buy? What barber should I use? Should I tell my wife to wear 'flats' only or can she wear 'open toed' shoes as well?" Its sick! But, this is a sample of some of the very mind-sets that Institutional religion Produces. I know its a ridiculous example, and it is few and far between instances, but still, a lot of times pastors are almost deified amongst their congregations. Christ, His Father and the Holy Spirit are the only Deity we need and should treat as such. (Psalm 119:165).
Micah was a man who had the heart of a 'pastor worshiper.' Today we see those who would hire a pastor just as a token. They brag, "My pastor has seven EARNED doctorates! He graduated from Persnickety Bible College and studied under Dr. Mega-Doctrine!" They offer them an income, a place to stay, and gifts. This has become an act of superstition and not one of true spirituality. We're not supposed to 'adopt' a man who can take care of himself just because we want to have a 'pastor.' God said he would give us pastors. He didn't say, "I will send you pastors so that you can pay him, feed him, clothe him and house him." He said, "And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed 'you' with knowledge and understanding" ~ Jeremiah 3:15. You see, a pastor is given, not sent. Given means, 'free of charge.' Sent means, 'imported with a price tag attached.' The pastor is supposed to feed us, we're not supposed to be feeding him. Are we beginning to see the difference? (Psalm 119:165).
Christ never wanted this type of "pastor" for His church, nor has He endorsed it. A pastor is supposed to be an asset not a liability. If a pastor costs the church money, he is a liability. But, this is the model of 'Church' that Produces this situation. It's an accepted hazard of their Main-Stream Business entity 'Church' System. Why? Because this system is entrepreneurial in nature. And, the pastor becomes its entrepreneur. You see, the success of this type of 'Church' has nothing to do with Jesus. It has everything to do with how good a motivator and businessman the pastor is. The best thing about being an entrepreneur is that he can leave whenever he wants, without any consequences to himself. Why? Because he acts as an Independent Contractor. Independent Contractors come and go as they please. If the job gets to be too much, he has every right to leave. This is the case regarding the young Levite in Judges 17.
This happens thousands of times in thousands of Institutional 'Churches' across this country. This mindset may not be prevalent with most pastors, but their actions sure do support the ideas embedded within the Institutional Corporate machine. Christ's church requires no hirelings. He needs no Independent Contractors. He want's no entrepreneurs. Why? Because His church isn't an enterprise. This is not an original quote, but I've used it once or twice before in my blog. It seems apropos to quote it here. "When Christ started His church in Israel, they were a 'Fellowship.' When they got to Greece, the idea of Christ's church became a 'Philosophy.' As this philosophy of a Christian church went through Rome, the popes counterfeited it. Their facsimile morphed into The 'Church' and became an 'Institution.' As it spread through Europe, the Institution became a 'Culture.' When it got to America it became an 'Enterprise." Institutional 'Churches' today are a HUGE entrepreneurial business Industry. Christ's true authentic church isn't an Institution. We aren't an enterprise. We aren't an industry. We aren't a movement. We aren't a business. We aren't mainstream. And, we aren't a Corporation. We are His local, physical assembly of believers, without the Institutional pet-doctrines and man-made traditions to drag us down and fleece us into poverty.
Jesus said, "But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep." ~ John 10:12-13.
A shepherd and a hireling are two different beings. The shepherd cares for his sheep. He see's them born. He nurtures them. He carries them around when they are young. He leads them to green pastures to graze and streams from which to drink. He Protects them when a predator is lurking about and fights them off so that not one sheep is harmed. If one sheep goes astray, the shepherd brings in a hireling and he leaves the rest to look for him. When he finds him, the shepherd binds his wounds and carries him back into the fold ~ Matthew 18:11-14. Why? Because he knows his sheep, and his sheep knows him. He not only knows his sheep; he loves his sheep. A pastor in Christ's home church is home grown in most cases. There is no interviewing, salaries, offices, false agendas, boards, committees, and so on within. All of those things are needed if one has a business and a building to support. Also, the homegrown pastor of Christ’s invention is not alone. There are other pastors helping him guide and feed the church family. In Jesus’ church, there is no one senior pastor to be accountable to. There are several pastors in the assembly as long as they meet the requirements found in 1Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. This is not a Profession to them. It is a non-paid ministry, wrought with love.
Now, a hireling is a different breed. Titus 1:10-13, “For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: 11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. 13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;“
If it sounds like I am rebuking them sharply, I confess that I am. I believe that I have Scriptural authority to do so ~ verse 13. These are the men I am speaking about. I’m not speaking about those pastors who have a genuine heart for their flocks. The pastors of an Institutional ‘Church’ that have refused pay, or have taken pay cuts so that the flock stays together during tough times are commended for their unselfish gestures. My article isn’t an attempt to attack their motives. I’m sure their motives are sincere. The Problem is how they were taught to take care of the flock. They are using a methodology spawned from an Institutional setting. They do not realize this because of the vernacular used within the ‘System.’ Their teachers have spliced together authentic Biblical verses with man’s tradition. It got so mixed up; they don’t know where to trim the fat off the meat. Satan does this on purpose. These guys are doing it out of tradition and ignorance and for a 'Church' which was never created by Christ. (Psalm 119:165).
Paul warns Titus to watch out for these unruly men spreading deceit with vain words. He says, "Whose MOUTHS MUST Be STOPPED." That's pretty strong language! Notice that he says there are ‘many’ and they subvert (undermine) whole houses teaching things which they ought not for filthy lucre’s sake. ‘Many’ of them? Subverting whole houses? For filthy lucre’s sake? Sound familiar? These men are coming into home churches (a.k.a. whole houses), spreading lies, subverting them and getting paid to do it. Paul says that they need to be stopped. With their mouths they are causing disruption and spreading lies. To me, this sounds like pastors today who rant and rave about the 'necessities' of tithing. And let us notice one thing more. Some of these unruly men are of the circumcision. What does that mean? They were JEWS after the traditions of the elders. These are the kind that Jesus contended with during His ministry. They imposed laws and doctrines that had nothing to do with the Law. Jesus broke the elder's traditional laws, (called Hedge Laws) as often and as publicly as He could. Why? To show the elders that He was Messiah and that these Hedge Laws of men didn't amount to a hill of beans.
Paul saw the same pattern happening in these house churches. He came across the same situation in the synagogues, which are Institutional ‘Churches.’ He saw these men coming into the house church of Jesus’ model and they were disrupting everything. These guys were trying to bring the Institute into the home, and they wanted to get paid for it! Guess what? For all practical purposes, and even though Jesus' church is from a different bloodline than the Institutional 'Churches,' it worked! We see it today in our everyday, business run, corporate Institutional ‘Church.’ Saved people are in the wrong place being taught the wrong set of rules. Again, this is not of Christ. (Psalm 119:165).
When some hirelings come to a new 'Church,' it is like they are playing with 'house money.' He was hired to look after the herd until the shepherd returns. In a pastoral sense, this thought Process doesn’t even apply. Why? The Institute is not Christ’s model for a church. There shouldn’t even be a hireling! There are many people within the Institute who are saved, but they’re corralled in the wrong type of pen! The Institute is the wrong pen and the hireling is in the wrong place at the wrong time. If he is a pastor after God’s true model, then when he is informed of this new information, he should look to Christ’s model of church and after His blueprint of what a pastor should be. Let God lead him to where he should go and what he should do for a living (See my post, ‘Should Pastors Be Paid?’). As of right now, they are simply imitating a pastor.
The Lord says, that the hireling doesn't know these sheep as his own. He's just babysitting. He wasn't there when little 'Buttercup' was born. He never carried any of them on his shoulders. He just sits there on a log casually taking in the scenery. He doesn't lead them anywhere. He's not really watching the sheep. He's just 'doing time' so he can get paid and go on his way. Perhaps he takes the job until something better comes along. That happens more than we think. Either way, the sheep are indifferent to him. They do not recognize his voice. Some are spooked because of him. To be fair, some hirelings do take their position seriously and hope to be a real shepherd some day. But, when tough times come, and he is put to the test, he may run.
Recently, another friend of mine told me about his most recently departed pastor. The pastor was hired, came in like a whirlwind, and got the 'Church' excited about a building Project. They spent all of this money on fancy 'improvements' to their building, and got so far into debt they couldn't see straight! What did this pastor do? He took off like the Flash! Whoosh! Gone! These hirelings are not all bad, though. Some have grandiose ideas on how to improve things for the flock. They Propose to build them a new pen with running water and feeding troughs. He wants to decorate the barn with brass chandeliers, drop ceilings and a new, highfaluting sound system. He wants to let anybody in, including wolves, so that he has strength in numbers. The more in number, the greater the tithe total. The greater the tithe total, the more money he has to play with. It's a Numbers Game! C'mon! Don't we know this? (Psalm 119:165).
Then he preaches his message of love and 'Bon Appetite!" to the wolves. What do I mean by that? Simple; the church of Jesus’ design is full of saved people. The ‘Church’ of the Institute contains lots of lost people. A church is supposed to be a body of believers, not a body of the lost. When a pastor in the Institute invites the lost, he is asking for trouble. It’s asking for trouble because, although his intentions are good, such as inviting the lost to hear the Gospel, the method is way off from what our Lord commanded us to do. I read a stat one day that said that the average Institutional pastor spends an average of five years or less in one location. Then, he's gone to another pastorate. It sounds to me that today's pastorate position has become a free-lance opportunity. The great commission in Matthew 28 said for us to “Go,” not to ‘Attract.’ We are to draw all men to Christ by taking the gospel to them, not by advertising to the lost, so that they'll come to us. When these folks come in, many times they act out as we see Paul warning Titus in Titus 1. This pastor unwittingly feeds his flock to these predators and doesn't even think twice about it. Most do not realize they are doing anything amiss. Why? They are not taught Properly, they just don't see it as yet, or they just ignore Scripture. (Psalm 119:165).
In my home based church of Jesus' authentic design (I really like that word, 'authentic'), we know Who our Good Shepherd is. We do not have hirelings, for our earthly pastors are not paid. They are vested in the care and nurturing of the families within their flock. Why? Because they are there when a new lamb is born into the fold. They instantly fall in love with these new, precious creatures. They attend to every whimper and cry. They carry them around to get them acquainted with the rest of the family. They love them, and even mend their boo-boos when they skin their little knees. Each little lamb is passed around the pen, to be shared by those who care. Mama Ewe brings the new ewe lamb to Daddy Sheep. He plays with Buttercup and enjoys her company. Her older siblings and cousins are wanting to play with her too. We can see a long line of relatives who wait their turn for the same enjoyment. This family of sheep knows and feels for each other, but there is One, Who cares for them much more than they can ever care for themselves.
When the gate opens, the sheep and lambs are excited! They are glad to hear His familiar voice. They scurry about hoping for a glimpse of Who they hope it is. "It's the Good Shepherd!" they bleat. He is the Shepherd of the sheep. He comes to feed and water them. He comes to care for them. He comes to sit with them. He comes to quench their thirst. He comes to lead them into rest and safety. He comes to instruct the earthly shepherds how to care for them while He is away. He will not flee, for all enemies of the flock are afraid of Him. He oversees all. He is not a hireling who will eventually perform his vanishing act. He will always Protect the flock from wolves, bears and roaring lions. The Good Shepherd is Jesus!
The earthly pastors in a home church, are heart-vested in their church family. They don't get paid like a so-called, "Professional pastor." Why? Because, he takes his instructions from the Good Shepherd's Handbook, the Bible. They do it without charge ~ 1 Corinthians 9:18, “What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.” They do it because they 'love.' Not because they'll be loved. Hirelings do it because they're paid. They want to be loved, but according to Titus 1:11, many would rather be paid. When Paul preached the gospel, he did it without charging anybody any money. No fees. No commission. No salary. (Psalm 119:165).
After reading my draft of this article, my brother in the Lord, John V offered this statement:
"The hireling is a false imitation of the shepherd. The church Jesus started and continues to build, meets (present tense) in homes without the use of funding (tithing). The Institutional set-up runs more like a business, which needs money. When we factor in this false set‐up for church, this reduces the position of pastor (shepherd) who must advertise themselves as Independent Contractors to pulpit committees and deacon boards. Money and shepherding do not go hand in hand. We need pastors and leaders to return to the example of our Lord. Never in the Holy Scriptures do we read of Jesus receiving any funding to support his calling into the world. We never read of how Jesus was sustained by the tithes of his followers. Consider returning to the Scriptures and investigate for yourselves the church Jesus started. I am sure, with the Holy Spirit’s aiding a hungry and open heart, sensitive to His truth, that what you'll find is the traditions of men will be exposed and that you may begin a new journey with Christ into his authentic church free from the encumbrances of the Institutional model of man's Church."
I’d like to offer up these Provoking questions for your consideration:
1. Have you been in similar situations where pastors have come and gone?
6. Does paying a man ‘to shepherd’ tempt him to respect certain well off individuals over others?
7. Does shepherding involve Proposing new Projects and Programs?
get tight and affects the dynamics of the body of Christ, how will you respond? Is this a Problem that Jesus, Peter, Paul or any other of the apostles ran into?
10. Can you see how paying a man to shepherd you lends itself for him to seek greener pastures for himself and leave you in the wilderness should money Problems occur within the ‘Church?’
Although I have been hard-hitting and brutally graphic in my style of writing, I in no way would say this post fits every pastor to a tee. There are some good and sincere men who really love the people they serve. These men should be commended for their intentions alone. The heart of this article is dealing with Christendom in the American ‘Church’ today as a whole. There are those small and rare pockets of genuine men who are mistakenly receiving pay to be a shepherd, but would gladly sacrifice their paychecks derived from their flocks to have their ‘Church’ move forward. Their intentions are admirable, but I believe, sadly, they are missing the point.
The point is that they shouldn’t be receiving pay from their flock at all. And, they shouldn’t be teaching the misunderstood doctrine of modern day N.T. 'Income' Tithing just to keep a building. How can we work around this? Let's try some knuckle bust'n study in God's Word! In general, the ‘Church’ is a business entity supported by a false teaching of N.T. Tithing. I refer you to the many posts, which deal with this issue within my 'Posts List' to the left. But I’ll end by saying, that pastors should not be persuaded by the love of money. At the same token, let’s adopt Paul’s admonition to ‘put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ (namely, the Shepherd of John 10) and “make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof” ~ Romans 13:14. What is Jesus’ application for all this? It is to cut all ties between the position of pastor and paycheck and to nurture and feed the flock of His model for church. This eliminates any fleshly motive for the shepherd and places the believer where the Lord wants us to be. Psalm 119:165, "Great peace have them which love thy law; and nothing shall offend them." I had to get that in one more time ~ Smile! Thanks for visiting my blog.