S: Ezekiel 34:1-10 Then this message came to me from the LORD: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds, the leaders of Israel. Give them this message from the Sovereign LORD: What sorrow awaits you shepherds who feed yourselves instead of your flocks. Shouldn’t shepherds feed their sheep? You drink the milk, wear the wool, and butcher the best animals, but you let your flocks starve. You have not taken care of the weak. You have not tended the sick or bound up the injured. You have not gone looking for those who have wandered away and are lost. Instead, you have ruled them with harshness and cruelty. So my sheep have been scattered without a shepherd, and they are easy prey for any wild animal. They have wandered through all the mountains and all the hills, across the face of the earth, yet no one has gone to search for them.
“Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, you abandoned my flock and left them to be attacked by every wild animal. And 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, and I will stop them from feeding themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths; the sheep will no longer be their prey.
O: God holds those of us who are given power over other people accountable for the wielding of that power. As Spiderman says, "With great power comes great responsibility."
While the original condemnation was addressed to the leaders of Israel, the general principle applies everywhere.
Recently here in Malaysia we heard the terrible reports and saw the terrible images of police brutally beating up peaceful pro-democracy protesters and photojournalists who tried to record their brutality. One of my pastors personally witnessed one of these incidents of police beating up protesters who had already peacefully submitted to arrest!
A: Most of us condemn these terrible actions by the Barisan Nasional government in their attempts to prevent free and fair elections in Malaysia. However, each of us have a certain amount of power as well -- I do, as a father, in my position at work, as worship leader at my church, etc.
It is so easy for me to be disgusted by the evil actions of Barisan Nasional leaders, but God also holds me accountable for the power I have. I have to act responsibly for each and every authority entrusted to me. I have to be a servant leader, just as Christ instructed us. (Matthew 20:25-28)
P: Father, prick my conscience whenever I'm tempted to abuse my authority. Let me be a servant leader, just as Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)