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Following shepherds or wolves?
- Jacob Ninan
Even in the days of the early church, with the apostle Paul still around, most Christian workers were seeking their own (Php.2:21)! Things have only become much worse now. Many are blatantly after our money, with different tactics for persuading us to give them our money. Some harp on the tithe, some ask for donations for large projects (with most of the money making them rich), some promise us prosperity if we make sacrificial 'seed' investments in their schemes, and some even plead with us to get them out of their huge debts! Some are not directly after our money but after our support that will increase their numbers and boost their image, power and influence. But how many of them are genuinely interested in our welfare (Php.2:20)? How many of them care for us so much that they work hard to provide a blessing for us, even at their own expense? Why are these people who promise us prosperity unable to be prosperous themselves that they don't need to ask us for money? Why are these healers taking their relatives to the doctors while they ask us to hold on to faith? How many are keen on being a blessing to us even if we give nothing in return and don't even acknowledge them?
Such false workers are ravenous wolves whose goal is to make a meal of (or gain something from) the sheep (Mt.7:15). They are clearly seen as being different from true shepherds by their spirit which is so totally opposite to that of Jesus. Jesus came to serve and to give His life for us (Mt.20:28), while these people are making merchandise of poor gullible people.
Why don't we see for ourselves what kind of shepherds we are following? For our own safety? Are we finding comfort in being a follower of some famous person while we are being fed with adulterated food and taken for a ride? Don't we care where this will take us and our children in the future?
Things have come to such a pass that trustworthy servants of God have become very rare. There is hardly a church where everything is good and edifying. I am not advocating that therefore you leave everybody else and sit alone at home. But don't we need to grow in discernment and choose what kind of spiritual food goes into our heart and what needs to be thrown aside? In order to become that much discerning, don't we need to feed ourselves personally with the word of God and become faithful in our own lives?
Pointing out the error that is going on around us does not automatically make us good or acceptable to God. We need to take care of ourselves and also those who are in our family. Ultimately we are not responsible for the condition of others (unless God has anointed us as His watchmen on the wall, Ez.3:17), but we have to give an account to God for our own lives and also about the responsibility He has given us over others (Ro.14:12). We may try to blame our leaders for not feeding us properly or misleading us, but what is the use if we have allowed ourselves to be made fools of?