Institutions: In 20 and Something, David Kim, Executive Director of the Center for Faith and Work, writes about how Millennials have witnessed the decline of institutional trust. “Many of the institutions previous generations respected as the pillars of a healthy society,” he says, “became disgraced by scandals during the Millennials’ formative years. Corruption was exposed within trusted institutions like government, big corporations, national sports teams, and organized religion.” Is their disillusionment with institutions justified, or do they need to buck up and realize that leaders are fallen people, too?
Abdication: Here, in Ezekiel 34, the Lord chastises the civil and religious leaders of Israel for not feeding the people (and instead feeding themselves), for not strengthening the weak, for not healing the sick, for not pursuing the lost, and for not ruling with grace and kindness. Why is he so angry? Because they are his people. He has entrusted them with these leaders and, instead of serving the people and stewarding their authority in love, they have been self-centered and corrupt: “They were scattered because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill.”
Shepherd: Because of the failure of human leadership, God says, “Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out … I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered … I will feed them with good pasture … I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down.” Then Jesus came in the line of David, as Ezekiel prophesied, saying, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep … No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.”
Prayer: Lord, We are like sheep—defenseless, helpless, and vulnerable. Like wolves lie in wait to attack sheep, sin is crouching at our door and its desire is to master us. Therefore, we pray that our earthly leaders will steward us well with the authority you have given them—even as we offer you thanks for Jesus, the good shepherd, who laid down his life for us. We are utterly dependent on him. No one else can rescue us. Amen.
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