At this point, I have read a plethora of articles denouncing, decrying, and comparing Ed Litton sermons with J. D. Greear (who is a dog’s breakfast doctrinally all on his own). My eyes are beginning to cross and I am developing a dull ache in both temples as I try to comprehend how a Pastor can do anything else. I can see similarities arising, because our material all comes from the same source, and that hasn’t changed now in about 2000 years.
But how can a man be a shepherd of God’s flock and not do the work? After all, being a pastor is not just a job. Our English word “pastor” comes to us from the Latin pastore, which means “shepherd.” The Greek word is poimen, which is a shepherd. I grew up on a farm, and although we never had sheep, we had both beef and dairy cattle, and I learned at least some of the basic principles there, sometimes the hard way. The one thing that grandpa Stan drilled into our heads (it was his farm, and he was my grandmother’s second husband after my grandpa Harold died) was that the animals MUST be fed, or there will be no milk and no beef to eat. That meant getting up early for this preteen boy (I think I was 11 when they started me on the farm) — long before Mr. Sun rose into the sky, and dragging bales of hay that weighed more than I did at least 30 yards, and then cutting the strands on those bales, and kicking the hay around a bit to spread it out for the cows. Repeat at least 10 times, because we had a lot of cows compared to the size of 11-year-old me. It got easier as I got older and developed actual muscle, but then the workload increased. And if you have never encountered it, cows can be mean and impatient, just like members of a congregation. I have heard that sheep can be worse, and they stink worse, but I don’t actually know about that.
What I am saying is that being a shepherd (or cowpoke) is HARD WORK. The main work of the herder is the feeding and watering of the herd or flock. If you don’t have the strength or the work ethic, you should consider other work. There is a reason being a pastor is a calling and not a job.
If a man wants to tell the world that he is a shepherd of the flock of God, then he must be willing to DO THE WORK. FEED THE FLOCK. You cannot cheat and relegate this critical duty to others. You must do it yourself. It is your main exercise in the House of God. Anything else you do should be alongside that. I repeat the question: Ed Litton, why not just write your own sermons?
Presumably you learned how in seminary, something the Apostle Paul never enjoyed, by the way (seminary). There is some work that cannot be delegated. Are you unable because of scheduling? Rewrite your schedule. Are you overtasked by a large congregation? Hire more help for pastoral care functions because you should be able to afford it with a larger congregation. Are you lazy? Repent. The herdsman that was lazy on the farm didn’t get to eat until everyone else that actually worked got a plateful–and those who expend the calories in the work eat a lot, so be prepared for scraps, because you learned to heap your plate or go hungry. Are you an unsaved pretender to the faith? I have seen my share of those. They would never last on the farm, but they had the chance to change.
Ed, whatever your issue is, it needs to be fixed before the Lord, the Great Shepherd, OUR BOSS, fixes it for you. That fix WILL be unpleasant, and God forbid, it could be permanent. No one, least of all me, wants that. Repent and follow our Master. He is ALMIGHTY GOD. Don’t try to soften that. We will ALL give an account to Him. But Ed, would you not rather hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord,” instead of “Depart from me, I never knew you?” Ed, God is giving you that opportunity right here, right now. Repent and do the work. Be His doulos like the rest of us who are His. Don’t try to maintain your pride and your arrogance. Get rid of your sermon team. Write your own material. It’s the only way to go. Otherwise, you have these guys…
Ed, that’s BAD press. Imagine what the Master Himself must think. It is not too late to change. Repent, Ed. The Lord Jesus Christ, the One that never knew sin was made to be sin on our behalf. He lived the life that WE should have lived and then died the death that we should have died (and some still will, sadly), all so that we could experience His life in exchange, and be the righteousness of God, all in Him. Repent and be saved.