Inherited from the Catholics
So, I’m not saying that the gift of shepherd doesn’t exist. It does exist, but the title of “pastor” does not exist. It isn’t in the Bible. No one was ever called “Pastor Paul,” “Pastor Timothy,” or “Pastor John.” You won’t be able to find those titles in the Bible because they’re not there! So if no one was ever called that and if the men of the Bible who knew God so well refused to do it, then why should we do it?
What happened is that we learned it from the Catholics. For 20 years I grew up hearing, “Father John” and “Father Patrick” every single time I went to mass, six days a week. “Father this” and “Father that”—I learned those titles from the Catholics. The Protestants, evangelicals and all the denominations have borrowed many, many things from the Roman Catholics and from other world religions. People then put a Jesus sticker on it and call it “Christian.”
Maybe we can just continue the process of learning the Ways of God and eliminate the things that trap us, smother us and trip us up. One of those things is the hierarchical system which keeps the gifts of Jesus from being fanned into flame. The gifts are actually pushed down because one gift consumes all the others. But the Bible says, when revelation comes to the second…what should the first one do? I want to hear you say it because you’re going to have to say that to a few brothers. Would you practice saying it right now? Sit down! (laughter)
Sit down. (laughter)
It will be okay. It’s like the U-turn thing. If someone makes the wrong turn, you just help and say, “Brother, sit down.” That’s what the Scriptures say—I’m not making that up. Look it up for yourself in 1 Corinthians 14. “When revelation comes to the second, let the first one sit down.” Let all the gifts of God have an opportunity. That doesn’t mean that everybody should say something every time you are together. That’s not the point. But when revelation comes to the second—when the fire of God is burning in your bosom and you can’t keep it in—then you shouldn’t be forced to keep it in by somebody else’s gift. You should be free to let Jesus speak through you.
And there are no “points” for everybody talking in a meeting. That’s not Christianity, that’s something else. But there are points from God’s vantage point for allowing Jesus to speak any time He wants to, through anybody He wants to.
“When revelation comes to the second, let the first one sit down.” It’s important that we learn how to be kind to each other, but that we are also making sure we are obedient to the Bible. We have to learn how to do things that feel very foreign to us but which are in the Bible. One of them is letting the gifts shine forth through all of God’s people. If you truly have the gift of shepherd, and you’re not just wearing that title because you went to school, you will help God’s people mature and grow and bring out their gifts.
In normal “Christian” circles, if you as an individual are really committed to Jesus and the people around you aren’t, then they tell you that you should become a “pastor.” That’s how I came to be one 20 years ago, before I quit. People kept telling me that because I loved God I should be a pastor, and so I believed them. I quit my job to do that for a while. Then I had to go find a job again when I realized that being a pastor is not even in the Bible.
So if you really have the gift of shepherd, you will want to help God’s people mature and grow. You will try to bring them to a place where they will allow the gift of God in them to flourish. If you don’t really have the gift of shepherd and you just want to control people, then you won’t want other people to prosper spiritually. If they do, you will feel threatened or competitive or discouraged or disappointed in yourself. Our greatest joy should be, like John the Baptist said, “to decrease so that Jesus might increase” (John 3:30).
The question has been asked a couple of times, “How do we start?” I think a very practical, simple thing you can do right now and that will be a testimony to everybody around you will be the words that don’t come out of your mouth anymore. People will know that something has happened to you because of the very change in your language. Remember that Jesus said we will be held accountable for every loose word that we’ve spoken? I dare say that’s a loose word. How much does that matter to us?
What’s the loose word?
Using “Pastor,” “Brother,” and other titles. The question is being asked, “How can we start?” This is a very practical thing and it’s not that hard. You just have to decide whether or not you want to do it. And if you do, it’s real simple. You just don’t have to say it anymore. You can start right now, in the very relationships where you’re using that kind of language. Everybody else is going to know that something is different with you and they will ask you, “What’s going on?” And then you will have an opportunity to take the next step.