Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 46 : Feed My Sheep | Day 320

Be an Effective Shepherd!

It came as a stern rebuke, but it provides a clear picture of the job of a good shepherd: “... Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? ... The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken ...” (Ezekiel 34:2, 4).

If we narrow the role of shepherding to only providing food, and we neglect the health of the sheep, we will not be completely effective.

In the nation of Israel, the priests ministered not only to the spiritual needs of the people but to their physical needs as well. This is also true of the elders in the New Testament Church. When a believer is sick, he is not only to seek medical remedies; he is also to “... call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up ..." (James 5:14-15).

The need to address both physical and spiritual problems simultaneously is because many sicknesses are the result of violating God's laws and principles. Therefore, the instruction in James continues: “... And if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much [makes much power available]” (James 5:15-16).

Not all sicknesses are the result of spiritual problems. They can also result from a lack of proper care for our bodies. A wise shepherd will find the still water and green pastures for his sheep. (See Psalm 23:2.) Doctors have observed that an effective way to achieve better health is by increasing the intake of pure water. This reduces strain on the kidneys and cleanses the body of harmful toxins. Another important factor in maintaining good health is eating nutritious food. Many of our diseases result from eating unhealthy foods or eating too much food.

Proper rest is also vital for good health. A wise shepherd will protect his sheep from too much work, exhaustion, and continual tension. “He maketh me to lie down ...” (Psalm 23:2). However, in spite of following practical steps for good health, there still will be needs for deeper remedies and spiritual counseling.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: ... Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's” (Psalm 103:2, 5).

Have you considered the whole scope of shepherding? Does your care for those in your "flock" include the health of their spirits, souls, and bodies? John wrote, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (III John 2). Let's ask God to make us attentive to all the needs of those under our care and to give us wisdom to help meet those needs.

“Simon ... lovest thou me more than these? ... Feed my lambs. ... Lovest thou me? ... Feed my sheep. ... Lovest thou me? ... Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard