Lie #3: The Sheep Must Feed The Shepherd

(From 10 LIES OF RELIGIOUS CHRISTIANITY)

The relationship between God and believers for Christians is modeled after the shepherd and the sheep as shown in the verse below:

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
Psalm 23:1 (NIV)

The same model is also used to describe the relationship between church leaders and members of the church. Many churches use the title “pastor” on their leaders. This term has the same meaning of shepherd. If you are a member of a church, your pastor is your shepherd and you are his flock.

Let me begin by explaining the relationship between the shepherd and flock of sheep in the Bible. Please note that this relationship is based on the actual Hebrew shepherds. They did not ride on horses nor did they used any sheep dogs to help them. The shepherd walked in front and his flock of sheep followed him. It is therefore right to say that the shepherd leads his sheep.

However, this does not mean the shepherd is the master of his flock. In fact, the flock is the real masters and the shepherd is their servant. A shepherd can either be an employee of the sheep owner, the owner himself or a combination of both. I am going to explain to you that, no matter which category the shepherd falls in, make no difference to the truth that he is a servant to his sheep.

Suppose the shepherd is an employee. He is paid to care for the sheep. His responsibility is to ensure that the sheep under his care must never starve, never thirst, always healthy and always safe. If he fails in any of the above, he will risk his job. So, every shepherd who wants to keep his job must take good care of his sheep as though they are his masters.

What if the shepherd and the owner are the same person? In this case, the sheep are his assets. If any of his sheep loses weight, sick or harmed, the shepherd/owner gets poorer. So, in order to protect his net worth, the shepherd/owner must also take good care of his sheep as though they are his masters.

Let us move on to the role of the sheep. The sheep only have 2 things to do: follow the shepherd and enjoy life. Unlike their western counterparts, there were no dogs to force the sheep to go to the right way. All sheep must follow the shepherd willingly and that is the only responsibility they have. Their shepherd will take care of all their needs.

Not only that, sheep do not have to reciprocate the same favor or services to their shepherd. Let me put it this way. While the shepherd has the responsibility to care for the sheep, the sheep in turn are not obligated to do the same to the shepherd. This means the sheep do not have the obligation to feed the shepherd when he is hungry nor protect him when he is in danger. I don’t think you can ever hear this truth being preached in any religious church.

Let us now consider how this principle applies to God and us. The Lord is my shepherd. Using the same model, we can conclude that the Lord must care for all our needs as though we are his masters. It is the Lord’s responsibility to ensure that we always have enough to eat, drink and protected from all harms. We don’t have to chase after prosperity because it is a part of the Lord’s responsibility to us as our shepherd.

Our role as his sheep, is to follow him and enjoy life. Using the same model again, we are not obligated to return the favor. We don’t have to bother whether the Lord has enough to eat nor should we try to protect him from any danger. He knows how to take care of himself.

This basically sums up what Christian life is supposed to be. Follow the Lord and enjoy life.

Next, we move on to the church. The same model applies to the church. The pastor is the shepherd to his church members. They are his flocks. It is the pastor’s responsibility to ensure that his flock shall never be hungry, thirsty or harmed in any way. This is his responsibility as their shepherd. If he fails in his job, he will have to answer to the sheep’s owner, God.

At the same time, church members only have to do the same things the sheep do, follow the shepherd and enjoy life. Like the real sheep, church members are not obligate to feed or protect their pastors. In other words, pastors have no right to demand money from their church members.

Is this principle being practiced in the religious churches? The answer is no. In fact they are doing the opposite. Religious pastors often see their church members as their source of money and free labor for them to exploit. If you have been attending religious churches often enough, you will hear the pastors demanding money or services from their members. They must be thinking that the more they exploit their members, the more points they will score in heaven.

In Lie #1, I have described how the pastors in my first church had shamelessly squeeze money from the church members to finance their building project. Even after they got the money, they did not stop. One church leader had even went up to the pulpit to tell us that if we continue to hold back (meaning not giving more money to the church), the church staff will have to forgo their annual bonus. So, it is our responsibility as church members to give more money to the church so that the pastors can have their annual bonus. Who are the blood-suckers here?

Therefore the third clue to identify a religious church is the pastors exploit the church members for money and labor.

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4 Responses to “Lie #3: The Sheep Must Feed The Shepherd”

  1. Sharla Pettinella Says:

    Hey, please could you tell me how to integrate your news in my rss feed reader, i cant find here the orange rss symbol…

  2. Yeap Chee Seng Says:

    I wish I can help but I know nothing about RSS. May some readers can.

  3. Andreas Says:

    Hi Yeap, I’m kinda wondering because I feel like God is telling me something with this new thought. I watched movies showing a shepherd, I saw them leading the sheeps to green pastures, the sheeps eat by themselves. I mean that the shepherd didn’t provide the grass directly before the sheeps, but he only leads the sheeps to the source that they could find the food to be eaten. Then the sheeps must find their own nice spot to eat. I feel like as a God’s shepherd, when we feed new Christians, we have to put in mind that we are leading them to find their own food, not to spoil them by directly giving them instantly all the time. What do you think about that?

  4. Yeap Chee Seng Says:

    If the pasture is filled with grass, the sheep can still find grass to eat with its eyes closed. Sheep do not have to find grass to eat if the shepherd is doing his job.


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