June 18, 2021 • Life for Leaders
Scripture – Ezekiel 34:15-16 (NRSV)
“I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.”
Friends, I do not know about you but right about now as the world continues to open up, our hearts, bodies, and souls are opening up to all the places inside of us long devastated by this long pandemic. What all did we lose? How were our minds broken and scattered? What hits did our hearts take relationally, financially, spiritually? How does our soul need strength?
God is upset. He is upset at the shepherds of Israel and he is holding them accountable. The shepherds had been unfaithful. The shepherds had been untrustworthy. They failed to seek and find the lost. They failed to search or seek them out. They fed themselves and did not feed the flock. The sheep were scattered and “became food for every beast.” (Ezekiel 34:5-6). There were many sick and diseased. The shepherds did not lead the sheep to life.
Yet, the God of the universe has a word for the weak. “I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.” (Ezekiel 34:11) The God of the verbos (verbs) is active and in motion. I will care. I will seek. I will deliver on a cloudy and gloomy day. I will gather them and bring them. I will feed them, by the streams, near good pasture. The sheep will lie down in good grazing ground. Eventually, this Great Shepherd will lead them to rest.
Friends, I do not know about you but right about now as the world continues to open up, our hearts, bodies and souls are opening up to all the places inside of us long devastated by this long pandemic. What all did we lose? How were our minds broken and scattered? What hits did our hearts take relationally, financially, spiritually? How does our soul need strength?
Last week I went to donate blood because there’s a nationwide shortage. My friend Kate who is a nurse announced at our church about this Emergency Blood Drive here in Southern California. I’ve been a blood donor for years. To my surprise, after driving in LA traffic that has begun to return to pre-COVID proportions, I wasn’t able to donate blood. “Mrs. McBryde, did you know you have low blood iron? You could faint if you donated blood today. Your iron deposits are extremely low.” The way my body has felt deeply fatigued for months all of a sudden made complete sense. I am depleted. We all are. My body was telling me the state of my soul. I am on the mend to be led back to nourishing food, exercise, and soul care.
My prayer for you is that as leaders you will be led by this Great, Good Shepherd. God who seeks to bring consolation to all the places of desolation is here to meet us with stored up mercy. As the world opens back up—quickly, it seems—may you not be quick to neglect a holy rest and invite a re-set. As we return to familiar relationships or old/new workplaces, may you lead out of being led. May your soul’s iron deposits be filled up by your Good Shepherd who longs to bring you life, light, and rest!
How is your soul feeling? Where do you need the Great Shepherd to lead you to rest?
Do a body scan and soul scan. If you’re able to, when was the last time your doctor checked you?
God who gathers us, thank you that you are the perfect Shepherd. You have led the people of Israel through wilderness and abundance. You continue to lead your people with lovingkindness. You desire nearness as a Shepherd knows the sheep and the sheep know the Shepherd’s voice. Gather us to be with you, near you, hear you. Lead us to pastures that will restore all that these past 15 months have stolen. We trust you to be the shepherd that knew us first, knows us best, loves us most. Amen.
Sign up to receive a Life for Leaders devotional each day in your inbox. It’s free to subscribe and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Commentary on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Israel’s Failure of Leadership (Ezekiel 34)