Jer 23:28 Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let the one who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? says the LORD.
Jeremiah Chapter 23 contrasts bad shepherds with the servants of the Lord. The bad shepherds scatter the flock, causing fear and disunity. The good shepherds gather the flock, calming fear, and speaking faith. Jeremiah is reflecting on the difficult task of leadership, lamenting those leaders who do not follow the advice of the Lord. Here he is speaking specifically to King Zedekiah who in 590 BC decided to withhold tribute to Babylonian Empire, against the advice of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 27:4-8). The shepherds of Judah were making policy decisions that placed the people in danger – and history showed that because of this, they were driven into exile.
The invitation for today is to think about people we know who have been called by God to be “shepherds” of the flock: presidents, community leaders, pastors. They are fragile human beings called to do a difficult thing. Too often we criticise their frailties, without offering them encouragement. Think of ways in which you can encourage a leader you know to remain faithful to the call of God. Now be a good shepherd to that person.
Fourth Sunday of EasterThe Good Shepherd
Scripture reading taken from A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants p.160