I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment. – Ezekiel 34:16
If you read this whole chapter (Ezekiel 34) you will find that God is pronouncing His Judgment on the irresponsible shepherds who had been so concerned about their own well-being that they had neglected the flock. Leaders who fed themselves while the flock was abandoned, scattered and abused.
God says that He Himself will care for the abandoned and scattered, while the rich, well fed shepherds will be judged. He will feed the hungry and gather the abandoned, and He will be their shepherd.
I’m thinking about a rich, well fed church, concerned mostly about our own well-being while the world lies in shambles. I’m thinking about an oblivious church that sings pleasant songs in pleasant buildings, paying no attention to the suffering of those who are weak and oppressed. I’m thinking of Jesus in Matthew 9, when he saw the multitude “weary and scattered, as sheep having no shepherd.” Matthew tells us the Lord was moved with compassion.
Am I moved with compassion at their suffering? I’m not just talking about the starving child in Africa. What about the single mom who feels like giving up? What about the gay man who feels hated and rejected by Christ’s “followers”? The confused and angry teenager? What about the multitudes that have been offended, ostracized, and rejected by the religion we call Christianity?
The statistics tell us Christianity is dying, it’s numbers in decline and it’s sway weakened. I say “good riddance!” Perhaps with religion out of the way, the living church of Jesus Christ can move forward with He alone as their King, once again caring for the flock, just as the Good Shepherd has commanded us.
God, help me remember that the death of Christianity and the birth of what is real always starts with me.