Week 29 Friday

No Longer Scattered

Today’s scripture selection: Ezekiel 31-36

Key verse: Ezekiel 34:12

The image of a shepherd watching over his flock is an understandably popular one in the scriptures.

Time and again we see it – a picture of either a good shepherd protecting the flock; or a lazy or corrupt one leaving them in harm’s way.

God told Ezekiel to reassure the people who heard him that should their earthly shepherds – those responsible for their spiritual welfare – fail them, God would step in.

“As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep.  I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.”

God still keeps that promise.

Human shepherds, even those with the best of intentions, are fallible.  So are all the so-called “experts” of our society – the self-help gurus; therapists of various types; religious sages; political saviors – you name it – all have “clay feet.”

That doesn’t mean don’t ever follow their advice, sometimes it’s very good.

It just means don’t make them “gods” – infallible leaders whom you follow blindly.

No, the only one in whom you should put that kind of total trust and total faith is God.

So – the next time you feel like a scattered sheep – look for the “good shepherd” – look to God.  He’ll lead you safely home.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you, for never leaving me to fend for myself among the wolves.  Thank you for bringing me safely back to the fold, time and again.  AMEN.



By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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