“Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right. My purpose, then, was not to write about who did the wrong or who was wronged. I wrote to you so that in the sight of God you could see for yourselves how loyal you are to us. We have been greatly encouraged by this. In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was about the way all of you welcomed him and set his mind at ease. I had told him how proud I was of you—and you didn’t disappoint me. I have always told you the truth, and now my boasting to Titus has also proved true! Now he cares for you more than ever when he remembers the way all of you obeyed him and welcomed him with such fear and deep respect. I am very happy now because I have complete confidence in you.”
2 Corinthians 7:11-16 NLT
Paul was delighted to see the response from the Corinthians. Not only did they respond to the letter and do what was right, they also accepted Titus with godly respect and hospitality.
How heartening it is when those in the church decide to be submissive and supportive to godly leadership. Paul was, indeed, a godly leader. His place of authority was given by God Himself (see Acts 9:15&16). Paul wanted to see the Corinthian believers stay under that authority and leadership because he knew that anything less would not be God's will for them and the results would be disastrous. Satan knows how to lead us astray. The way he does this is to get us to listen to the wrong voices. Sheep are very defenseless creatures. They must depend upon the voice of a shepherd. Their hope of security and safety is to stay in a sheepfold and follow a shepherd. A shepherd's duty is to care for and protect the sheep from ravenous wolves even if he has to defend them against the wolf with his own life. Jesus speaks of this in John chapter 10. There He says that He is the Good Shepherd. Jesus is the One we are ultimately following!!! That is without question. It is important for us to recognize that God has placed men as spiritual shepherds (pastors - the word pastor means shepherd) over His sheep to help them get to the heavenly sheepfold where we will all be with the Great Shepherd (Jesus). No, these earthly shepherds are not God!!They are sheep that have been born into this fold just like the rest. However, there is a distinct call and authority in their lives that has been placed there by God to help care for and tend the flock while on this journey to heaven. In John 10, Jesus also refers to hirelings. Hirelings want only one thing - pay day. When a wolf comes, a hireling takes the easy road out. A true, committed shepherd stands and fights. Until we reach our eternal home, we must listen to and follow earthly shepherds that are under God's direction and authority. This doesn't mean that we are worshiping these leaders or that they don't have their own human faults. It simply means that God has designated them as our overseers (see I Timothy 3). The main thing is this: Are they godly? If they are godly shepherds, they should be respected and trusted especially if they have fought faithfully to protect the flock over the years. Any earthly shepherd who loves God will love the sheep and desire to see them stay under the Good Shepherd's direction. This is their hearts passion.
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, help me to seek to please You, the Great Shepherd, and help me submit to godly, earthly shepherding until I get home to be with you.
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Rev. Curtis Norris