At the end of Ezekiel chapter 33, we read that Ezekiel was no longer mute, the Lord gave him his ability to speak again. And we see harsh words that Ezekiel was given to speak.
These words from God, through Ezekiel, bring back memories of my youth, sorry to say.
Ezekiel is told how the flock of God had become prey for every predator in the field, and the shepherds did not go looking for the missing sheep, they took care of themselves only.
How different that is from the Good Shepherd, our Lord Jesus, who would leave 99 in the field to go look for one.
12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.
These shepherds Ezekiel was to speak to, were too busy making sure they were fed and cared for, to be concerned for the sheep.
God then says He is against those shepherds and will take His flock from them.
The shepherd’s role is to care for and protect the sheep at all times. In this age we are in, the Pastors of our fellowships are our shepherds, they are chosen, appointed, anointed by God for that role, and many are true servants of God, and the shepherd of God’s sheep, through the entire time of their calling and ministry.
During pre-teen, and early teen years, I was an avid church attender, excited for Jesus Christ, with a calling and desire to serve Him.
Through a variety of circumstances, in my late teen years, and through my own choices I admit, I wandered from the way of Jesus, into the ways of the world.
How I relate this to the days of Ezekiel, is that no church leader, Pastor, Sunday School teacher, youth leader, attempted to call me to talk, check up on me, or show any concerns at all. Of course I cannot say it positively would have made a difference, but I cannot say it would not have either.
When these memories returned to me while reading Ezekiel, my mind clicked on that to be one reason why I have a concern when regular church attendees no longer are there. Whether they be teens or older, it is important to notice when people are no longer attending services, and check in with them showing we care.
Personally, I do not believe it is the Lead Pastor lonely who has the responsibility of Shepherd alone in these cases. The entire staff, lay leadership, as well as Brothers and Sisters in Christ should be noticing if people we know, sit near, or otherwise encounter, are missing for a noticeable period of time, and call them to see how they are. It could make a tremendous difference in the life of a person.