You drink the milk, wear the wool, and butcher the best animals, but you let your flocks starve. Ezekiel 34:3 (NLT)
God had Ezekiel write a blistering indictment of the religious leaders in Israel who were supposed to be shepherding the flock, but instead were using their position to get rich and powerful; all the while the people were wasting away in poverty and squalor.
It takes a robust sociopath to lie one’s way to the top of the heap – one who can promise much and deliver only to himself.
Adolph Hitler was a fine example of a prevaricator, a lying tongue that promised a silver lining for the poor, common folk. His impassioned speeches were filled with false sympathy for the impoverished German citizens. He had hidden plans.
In 1934 Germany only the well-off or powerful could afford an automobile. Hitler gave a speech at an automobile show in light of what he was telling the German people he wanted to do for them:
“It can only be said with profound sadness that, in the present age of civilization, the ordinary hard-working citizen is still unable to afford a car, a means of up-to-date transport and a source of enjoyment in the leisure hours.”
To be sure, Hitler looked like he was fulfilling his promises. As proof of his benevolent leadership he approved design of the Volkswagen (literally: the people’s car), and building of a superhighway system, the autobahn, so the average family could afford this modern mobility. But not a single private German citizen got a vehicle, because once Hitler got complete control of the government, he turned production of the people’s cars into military vehicles of the war machine.
It’s hard to see a person’s motive. It’s particularly tricky in church to even mention that, because we serve the one who said we ought not to judge others.
In the end, however, one way or another, leadership will be judged.
Hitler had his comeuppance – eventually – and did what cowards do…he took the easy way out with a revolver.
For those of us charged (as I am) with caring for the souls of a part of God’s flock, we also will be judged for our conduct and faithfulness in ministry. I take that seriously and fearfully; serving God is not to be approached casually or with personal gain in mind.
I can honestly say that most ministers I have ever met fall into that earnest, faithful and genuinely motivated category; faithful under-shepherds of the King.
Some have not. (May God have mercy on their souls.)
Here are a couple of questions with which you (as a follower of Jesus) should wrestle:
Do you trust your spiritual leader, your pastor?
Do you trust God enough to leave the judging of your leader’s ministry…to God?
If you answered “yes” to both questions, you’re on solid Biblical ground. Judgment and appropriate rewards or punishment are God’s prerogative.
If you answered “no” it may be time to answer a third question:
Who is running your church, God, or you?