Integrity vs. Loyalty – Part V
Integrity vs. Loyalty – Part V
The Heart of the Matter
The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.
Where is your heart? Who has your heart?
If you are a believer, God has your heart and you have His.
If you are married, you spouse should have your heart and you should have his/hers.
If you are a parent, your children should have your heart and you should have theirs.
If you are a leader, you need to have the hearts of your people and they need to have your heart.
Malachi said that God would send Elijah the prophet to turn the hearts of the children to the fathers and the hearts of the fathers to the children. This had/has two important applications.
1. One obvious application is the hearts of the earthly fathers and their biological children.
2. The other application is the hearts of the fathers of Israel and the hearts of the children of Israel be turned to each other. That was not the case with the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. John Baptist came calling them to repentance.
Today, the hearts of the leaders must be turned to the people and the hearts of the people must be turned to the leaders; not in lockstep loyalty but in genuine love and shepherding. We must represent the Father, not the elder brother. The people must be fed the Word of God through our messages and our faithful teachings and our lives.
My generation has done much good. We have also created many problems. Most of my energy has gone into attempting to correct those problems while many of my generation continue to defend their mistakes and corrupt another generation by co-opting them to system loyalty.
Look at our record. It is not good. It is time for a change. We will lose our youth. We are losing our youth.
We are breaking the hearts of the people. Requiring loyalty to a specific system creates disunity in the Body of Christ. Disunity is a most painful experience. Those we love and trust become our enemies. How can that be? Hurtful words are spoken. Gossip infects the body. Words cut like knives. Many people are well-meaning in their desire to have a working congregation but are seemingly unable to do so.
Control by the Spirit is difficult if one has typically been controlled by culture. The transition from loyalty to integrity is very difficult. Loyalty feels good, is easily transferred, and is externally focused. Integrity places responsibility on the character and the heart of the person.
Leadership is shepherding – shepherding the members of the flock.
Shepherds/pastors – are a gift of the Spirit to the Church Eph. 4:11
Shepherding is Spiritual warfare against the enemy of the soul
Shepherding is knowing the people
Shepherding is fighting for the hearts and souls of the people
Shepherding is teaching truth to the people – Mark 6:34
Shepherding is bringing healing to the people
Shepherding is having the hearts of the people in your heart
Shepherding is having a clean heart
Shepherds can carry lambs and kill lions
Shepherds live lives of balance
Shepherds live lives of obedience
Shepherds live lives of Scripture faithfulness
Shepherds notice the lonely, hurting, struggling people
Shepherds notice the struggling families
Shepherds notice those who are abused and misused
Shepherds know how to bring comfort and care and emotional support
Shepherds are men of prayer
Shepherds do not envy
Shepherds are not jealous
Shepherds protect the helpless
Shepherds do not tolerate bullies
Shepherds live close to their Lord
Shepherds lead their people in paths of righteousness
Shepherds cast their cares on the Lord
Shepherds follow their Great Shepherd of the sheep – Jesus Christ the Lord
Shepherds can be lonely at times
Shepherds spend long hours away from public eye
Shepherds are discerning and alert for danger
Shepherds risk their life for the sheep
Shepherds realize that they are “sheep” in need of a “Shepherd”
Shepherds do not play “king on the mountain” games
Shepherds have the wisdom to balance mercy and truth in all situations
Shepherds live above reproach in all areas of life
Shepherds fear God, they do not fear men
Shepherds gather Godly men around them
Shepherds are not politicians
Shepherds know to engage people in meaningful conversation
Shepherds carry staffs, not swords
Shepherds separate the sheep from the goats
Shepherds detect and protect against false shepherds – Gal. 4:16-20
Shepherds do not drive sheep, they lead them
Shepherds do not coerce sheep, they feed them
Shepherds lead people to the Father
Shepherds warn and caution against dangers and enemies
Shepherds seek the lost and hungry sheep
Shepherds sleep in the door of the fold
Shepherds have personal discipline
Shepherds require discipline of self and sheep
Shepherds anoint the heads of the sheep with oil of healing
Shepherds love their people
Shepherds love the sheep of God’s pasture
Tools used by David the Shepherd – staff, rod, sling, music, flute or lyre, Word of God, meager physical provisions, Prayer as evidenced in Psalms
The Shepherding of Jesus – Mark 6:34
Has God called you to be a pastor/shepherd?
Has God given you a shepherd’s heart?
It is the highest calling.
It is the most difficult calling.
It is the most rewarding calling.
It is the calling where you work hand-in-hand, heart-in-heart with the Great Shepherd.
It is the calling where you feel the heart of God.
It is the calling where you become the heart of God to the people.
Today – we shepherd.
Someday – The Great Shepherd will welcome us Home.