January the Eighteenth False Shepherds
EZEKIEL xxxiv.1-10.

This word of the Lord puts before me the unlovely lineaments of the false shepherds.

They are self-seeking. They "feed themselves," but they "feed not the flock." They take up religion for what they can make out of it! It is a carnal ambition, not a holy service. It is used for getting, not for giving, for self-glorification and not for self-sacrifice. It is selfishness masquerading as holiness, the thief in the garb of the shepherd.

And, therefore, the false shepherds are devoid of sympathy. "The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick." Selfishness always tends to benumbment. Humaneness is fostered by sacrifice. Our sympathetic chords are kept refined by chivalrous deeds. Drop the deeds and all our refinements begin to coarsen, and we make no response to our brother's cries of need and pain.

And because there is no sympathy there is no quest. "My sheep wandered ... and none did seek after them." How can we seek them if we have never missed them, if we have no sense that they are lost? Our Lord came in travail of soul to "seek that which was lost." And I must share His travail if I would share in the search.

january the seventeenth spiritual discernment
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