By Omotunde Idowu
There is a purpose for everything and timing, so says the good book of life, Holy Bible (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ), hence the time is now.
In the synoptic Gospel books Luke 11:1-13; Matthew 6: 5-13, 14-15; emphasizes where placed on training that Jesus gave the 12 Apostles before being commissioned. For anybody to man a particular position and a sensitive one such as a shepherd’s position, such a person must be either trained, groomed, or nurtured. Afterward, he or she would be commissioned, and in fact be ordained for that special duty(ies) as the case may be (Luke 9: 1 – 27; John 21: 15-17; Ezekiel 3:17).
Before I expatiate on the above topic ‘Ministers in the vineyard of God; Shepherds or Wolves, I need to make known things that are expected of all that have been commissioned or claimed to have been commissioned by God. This statement is necessitated by the acts and deeds of many who claim to be ministers in the vineyard of God (I say claim because their deeds say otherwise (Matthew 7: 15-20).
As the Holy Bible says, we are meant to know the Word, live the Word and disseminate the same to all and sundry without adulteration or dilution (John 8: 32; 2Timothy 4: 1-2). When I say know the Word – this means, knowing the Word of God through the scriptures.
Whosoever does not know the Word cannot live the Word. What you don’t know, you cannot understand, nor know how to live in it or be guided by it. Therefore, you are to know the Word of God like the back of your palm. You are to digest the Word of God, understand the words of God by reading, studying, pondering, meditate upon and listen to the Word of God in which God will continually speak to you and you will be able to understand and dissect and assimilate God’s words.
Living the Word – when one knows the Word of God, one understands it, and that is when such a person would be able to live the Word. The Word of God is life and alive. It is a living Word and so, all ministers of God must make it our way of life always and not when you are parading or ostentatiously displaying as a man or woman of God, but something else behind closed doors.
By this I mean, we are to live the Word in all our activities, speech, reaction to the situation, interacting with others irrespective of their age, status, location, and occurrence. In fact, an impromptu occurrence usually denotes wolves who parade as ministers of the word in their true form.
A preacher who preaches act of giving (2 Corinthians 9:6-8) but yet he or she is tight-fisted cannot but scare away willing souls. for all that carry the armor of God are to be an image of God in perfection be it in the open nor behind the confines of your home (Matthew 5: 48); We as ambassadors of Christ must not be multi-faced, that is we should be same as what we preach and true to Christ. We must be truly open for all to see Christ in us (2 Corinthians 5: 20-21).
There shouldn’t be room for hidden ungodly traits in us, and if we are true to Christ, there wouldn’t be a need to hide or waiver in whatever situation we may find ourselves for we have nothing to hide.
Disseminate the word – What you don’t have you cannot give. There are no two ways to this, you either have something to give or not. No wonder, all that have nothing to offer the congregation (the sheep) they led to pasture, lead them astray. They preach heresies, lead their congregation to damnation. A blind person can never lead another on the right part but makes such a follower unstable. And mind you, God would not take a person misleading others as not being guilty (Luke 6: 39).
Now, I will like to expatiate on who shepherds are and the duties placed upon them – Shepherds in the Holy Bible context are those that attend to the ‘sheep’ of God, love God and His sheep, lead them to green pastors, protect them from evil, warn them of impending doom or danger same as watchmen do provide for them in times of need, give good directives to the sheep or lambs so they won’t wander away, fend for them, fight their cause, look for the sheep that may have wandered away from the flock, etc.
God said to the prophet Ezekiel, “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from my mouth, and give them warning from Me” (Ezekiel 3:17)
All the above-enlisted duties are what Christ was asking Simon son of Jonah when asked, do you love Me? and he replied, “Yes, Lord,” emphasizing “You know I love You.” Jesus told him, “Shepherd My sheep; “Feed My sheep. (John 21: 16 -17).
How then can we know the wolves parading as shepherds in the vineyard of God? The way to identify wolves in sheep’s skin is what Jesus said to the congregation when he said: “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many (Matthew 24:4-5); With this every believer will know whenever he or she comes across wolves for their fruits will manifest whom they are. No wonder the Psalmist confirms the same when he said “I do not sit with deceitful men, nor will I go with pretenders (Psalm 26:4).
When they preach heresy, blaspheme the name of God, bring in ungodly worshiping methods, idolatry, lead the sheep to the way of perdition, any believer must leave such a congregation.
With your Holy Bible that must always be your guiding principle, read it will guide you and the Holy Spirit will be there to direct your part.
If you find yourself in the congregation of the wicked, sinner, and wolves who claim to be a ministers in the vineyard of God, then fleeing should be your next move (1 Thessalonians 5:22).
Traits of wolves are as follows – lying and filthiness (Psalms 12: 2-6), covetousness (Luke 12:15), lukewarmness to the things of God, preaching heresies (2Peter 2:1), boisterous (James 4: 16; Jeremiah 9: 23), lovers of gifts and money (Acts 20: 35), lack of concern to the sheep of God, self-centeredness (Philippians 2: 3-4), glutony, materialistic (Colosians 3:5), idolatry and total or partial disobedient to God which is an act of being rebellious to God (1Samuel 15:23).
In conclusion, the question this article is meant to ask is – ‘Ministers in the vineyard of God: are they hepherds or wolves’?