Parable of a Pig

In recent years, I have become increasingly concerned about the attitude toward pastoring that seems to be prevalent in church ministry. The model of the pastor seems to have shifted from a Biblical “shepherd” to a corporate CEO.  This transition has been harmful to the church as a whole, the “sheep” within the church, and, ultimately, to the pastors themselves. down-your-nose

Those of you who have young children or grandchildren are likely to be familiar with the story of “Babe”.   For the uninitiated, Babe is the endearing story of a lovable little runt pig who is taken from his mother, to be raffled off at the county fair.  The contest is won by “Farmer Hoggett”, who takes Babe home to Hoggett Farm.  There, a family of sheep dogs adopts Babe as one of their own.

The tension throughout the story is the constant possibility that Babe will be shot, butchered, and eaten by the farmer and his wife.  (Do you begin to see the analogy of pastoring?)

In the sheep field with his adopted mother, Babe discovers an unexpected talent for herding sheep.   At first he tries to follow the methods of the dogs by driving them through fear and intimidation. The sheep are both amused and angered at the little pig, but refuse to budge.   Through the wisdom of an old sheep, Babe finds that through kindness he can persuade the sheep to do whatever he asks.

By the end of the story, everyone is amazed at a simple pig that is able to so successfully lead sheep. Babe competes in the national sheep herding competition and wins.   As the crowds cheer in amazement, he stands by the side of his master who quietly says, “That’ll do pig. That’ll do.”

Despite the fact I am one of the runts in God’s family, and even though I may not look like “shepherd” material, God has given me the responsibility of caring for one of His flocks.   My task is not to drive God’s sheep by fear and intimidation.   It is to lead them with a kind, Christ-like spirit.  I must have the loving, servant’s heart of a shepherd.

When I do, I will be a successful shepherd.   Instead of being impressed with me, observiers can only give glory to my Master.   All I will need to hear to know I have pleased Him are the words, “That’ll do child. That’ll do.”

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Parable of a Pig

  1. Money seems to be a part of the problem. Pastors in America are not only responsible for caring for the flock but caring for the disbursement of monies to care for things like salaries and buildings. So how do feel a such a balance should be struck?

    • That’s an excellent question, and I don’t claim to have all the answers. I suppose any pastor (regardless of church size) has some administrative responsibility. My concern is that the focus of ministry can subtly shift from people-oriented to empire-oriented. I will say that division of labor as modeled in Acts 6 is at least one aid in this.

  2. Hard to think about deacons in a context that is not reflective of this passage from Acts 2:

    “All the believers were together and shared everything. They would sell their land and the things they owned and then divide the money and give it to anyone who needed it. The believers met together in the Temple every day. They ate together in their homes, happy to share their food with joyful hearts.”

    This communal approach to ministry seems a lot different than what most churches these days. Back then there did not seem to be as much of a delineation between professionals and laity.

    And I do think that there seems to be an increased focus on pulpit ministry. My years in pastoral ministry were reflective more on things like visitation and counseling. Almost everyone else on staff was dedicated to church programs and church administration.

    Yet perhaps your pastoral roles has given you more opportunities to be in more communal settings than mine. Would be interested in hearing examples of how you walk out your role as a shepherd.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s