by Pastor Tim Burt
Have you ever come to a place where your life felt off kilter? Like you needed some things to change but not sure what? I know that’s difficult to describe but it reminds me of a car not tuned up and running a little rough. I’ve felt like that a number of times over the past 40 years and never liked it when I was feeling that way. Years ago, the Lord taught me what to do in those times!
What He taught me, not only helped and fixed me, it expanded my sense of purpose in life, and my ability to be used by God. And it’s a place that’s tuned up my life over and over again.
At that time in my life when I first felt off kilter, I was hungry to know the Lord better. I was extremely desirous to be used of Him. I wanted my Christianity to mean something more than just going to Heaven. I wanted my life to reflect the love of Jesus and with the consistency that others would take notice of and want to emulate. But, my life felt somewhat “off” and I wasn’t sure why so I prayed about it. One morning, I woke up instantly and wide awake. Thoughts of scripture flooded my heart and I sensed that it was the Lord waking me up to pray. I went into our living room so that I wouldn’t wake Renee up. I laid down on the floor with my Bible, opened it up, and began to read some very sobering verses from the book of Ezekiel.
Ezekiel 34:8-10 “As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, you abandoned my flock and left them to be attacked by every wild animal. Though you were my shepherds, you didn’t search for my sheep when they were lost. You took care of yourselves and left the sheep to starve. Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I now consider these shepherds my enemies, and I will hold them responsible for what has happened to my flock. I will take away their right to feed the flock, along with their right to feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths; the sheep will no longer be their prey.”
I wasn’t a pastor at this time but I did feel a calling upon my life. I thought my pastors were doing a great job. So these verses did not speak to me about any pastors I knew. That wasn’t the point. The Lord was talking to me about the seriousness of the responsibility of those that take leadership over His sheep. He was trying to help me count the costs and help me see that He loved His people and that I’d better do likewise if I wanted to walk out this calling.
The Lord then reminded me of something my pastor had taught those under his leadership. He said, The primary responsibility of a shepherd/pastor is to feed and to protect the sheep. That meant as a pastor, I ‘d have to spend time in God’s word and pray to hear from God to be able to ‘feed’ or teach God’s ways to the people. And I’d I have to cover them in prayer. No man can physically protect everyone he cares for or oversees. That has to be a work done in the Spirit through prayer. These are the primary responsibilities and priorities of a pastor and what makes one a good shepherd of God’s sheep.
Then the Lord reminded me of the words from Acts 6:3-4 when the Apostles came to a revelation from God. “Now look around among yourselves, brothers, and select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. We will put them in charge of this business. Then we can spend our time in prayer and preaching and teaching the word.”
The Lord reminded me of this scripture and my priority to pray for those in my areas of responsibility and influence. When it came to serving God’s people, this would be my first responsibility. It’s exactly what Jesus did!
From that moment, there was an immediate shift in my life. I began to assess who God had placed in my life–leaders who influenced me, those I served alongside of, and those including family that God had put in my life. I immediately began to pray for them daily with sincerity and caring! What was truly mountain moving was that within three weeks, my life began to be supernaturally transformed.
It led me to pray for you and others as Jesus prayed for His disciples. John 17:7-9 (NIV) “Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you.
For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.”
My promise is to pray for all of you daily. As I pray, I am asking the Lord to reveal Himself and the magnitude of His love toward you more and more. When you realize the extent of that love, you’ll want to draw near to Him. Teaching you His Word and praying for you–they are the primary responsibilities of not only myself, but of any Christian. Today I ask you. Who are those that God has placed in your realms of responsibility and influence. Identify those people and pray for them daily. Do so and there is a very good chance that your life will feel like it just had a supernatural tune-up that leaves you feeling you are exactly where you should be with God! I’m praying for you!
Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV) “… And I pray that you… together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge…”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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