"I Am The Good Shepard. The Good Shepard Lays Down His Life For The Sheep. The Hired Hand Is Not The Shepard Who Owns The Sheep. So When He Sees The Wolf Coming, He Abandons The Sheep And Runs Away. Then The Wolf Attacks The Flock And Scatters It. The Man Runs Away Because He Is A Hired Hand And Cares Nothing For The Sheep. I Am The Good Shepard; I Know My Sheep And My Sheep Know Me - Just As The Father Knows Me And I Know The Father - And I Lay Down My Life For The Sheep. I Have Other Sheep That Are Not Of This Sheep Pen. I Must Bring Them Also. They Too Will Listen To My Voice, And There Shall Be One Flock And One Shepard"
I was working on a different post earlier today when I received a phone call from a lady I know through Church.
She was a bit upset and with some prodding from me, I sat and listened to her tell me about some things that have been going on.
Things I didn't want to hear about my Church, things I still don't understand.
Now I may be blond or as some call it naive, however I was always under the impression that Christians had it easy...
You go to Church on Sunday, you are kind and compassionate and caring, never uttering a cross word, nor beating your kids or spouse, nor drinking and cheating and gambling etc...
Yes, I was wrong.
My Pastor was one of the first people to tell me that the minute I got saved, the second I was baptized, my world would change.
Satan would come after me harder than he ever did before just because I was now following Christ.
Never did I expect Satan to follow me into Church, he did and he came in full force and did all he could to get me to turn my back.
I have had unkind words spoken about me, unkind words spoken about people I sit with, I have had people get up from a pew if I sit there, I have seen the Church jammed full with people packed in their seats like sardines and I have a whole empty pew to myself.
It saddens me and I can see that it saddens my Pastor when he comes out and sees it, however after over a year, I am used to it and I realized that it isn't about them, it is about me and my walk with Him.
I am not going anywhere, I am there for a reason and while some days it may be a bit uncomfortable, I know that the ones who don't want me there need my prayers a little more than others.
I have made many wonderful connections at the Church, however I am still considered an "outsider" and that is okay.
I am an usher, on the official board, feed the homeless, in Bible study every week, in Church almost every Sunday, in school to become a Pastor, yet some of them still don't quite accept me.
That is okay as well.
Narrow mindedness never scared me, it was nothing I was ever taught so I never really ran into it before now.
Now we have a new person who has joined the Church, one of a different race, Hispanic I would say but don't quote me, I am white as most of you know and the Church is an AME Church. (African Methodist Episcopal for my new readers)
I wasn't born with a thick skin, I let everything bother me because I wear my heart on my sleeve, or as G says "tender-hearted".
I hurt easily, I am very empathetic and I am usually guided by my emotions.
I watch it all, take it all in and then will say something if I feel it is called for.
In the past month I have seen some changes going on, subtle changes, which seem to not be a very good thing.
I see a popularity thing happening, and in my opinion there is no place for that in Church, regardless of what Church you go to, I feel each and every person who walks through those doors should be treated equally.
I don't care what you wear, what you drive, where you work or where you live, last time I checked, there is but one God and to shun someone who comes to your Church is a sin.
Jesus loved the outcasts...
Drug addicts, prostitutes, lepers, cast aways, criminals, rejects of life etc...
People thrown away by others were welcomed by Him, He in fact searched for them.
We are all His sheep, all of us, race, color, creed, religion.
When He walked this Earth, He was never untouchable...
He never turned a blind eye to someone with leprosy, He didn't shun someone due to their skin color, He didn't think one neighbor was better because they had a younger donkey then the one in the pen next door.
He loved everyone, period.
You and I were created in His image - Genesis 1:27 "So God Created Man In His Image, In The Image Of God He Created Him; Male And Female He Created Them."
As I sat on the phone and listened to this woman, she said something to me that reached me to the core, she said "Once you have your title, (Pastor) please don't forget the "little people", please don't become untouchable."
She doesn't want me to become like some religious leaders, Pastors you can't talk to without going through an army to get to them, Ministers who don't have the time of day for the flock they are supposed to be watching over, Fathers who aren't ever in the Church when they are needed.
That broke my heart and I vowed to her I wouldn't be like that.
He gave me this calling to make a change, a change in someones life, never once have I thought it was to become better than anyone and if you ever, ever, see me acting like that, I expect one of you to come and slap me back down to reality.
If you, as a religious leader has become untouchable to your congregation, maybe it is time to step back and do a spiritual check.
Are you doing God's will or are you doing your will?
From The Shadows
From The Wrong Roads
From The Darkness
From The Unknown