By Carl Roberts

But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God.
My times are in thy hand: (Psalm 31:14-15a)


This was the Scripture that was on my pillow at the “Centre for Christ” Burstone Manor, Devon, England. It summed up what my ordination means to me as a servant of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 4:5:
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

I did not lay down my life for you, nor is it through believing on me that anyone receives eternal life. We are not to preach ourselves. What is required of me is to be a servant for Jesus sake.

John 10:14:
I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

Not only is our Lord Jesus a shepherd, but he is called a good shepherd, that knows his sheep. He knows them intimately; he even calls them by name. The sheep also know the good shepherd and the love he has for them. They can distinguish his voice from others and will not go to another. Psalms 23 is a great example of the good shepherd.

John 10:15:
As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

There is no greater love than that of a man who lays down his life for others.

John 10:16:
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

In contrast to the good shepherd we find the hireling, the one who is in it for the wrong reasons. We can also learn from this bad example how not to do it.

John 10:12-13:
But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

A hireling is a hired hand; he is paid to do the job. The sheep are not his and he is not the shepherd. He is not familiar with them and doesn’t know them by name. He would certainly not lay down his life for them. When he sees the wolf coming, even before it arrives, he just flees without giving any warning, exposing them to the beasts of the fields. The sheep are then scattered without a shepherd.

1 Peter 5:1-2:
The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

Peter exhorts his fellow elders and encourages them to feed the flock of God. The flock needs to be fed with good food, “wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness” (1 Tim. 6:3b).

To take the oversight is to watch over the flock. We are to watch out for those that cause division and offences, contrary to the wholesome words of Christ. When this happens, the shepherd is not to flee but stay unmoveable. Our service should be “not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.” The opposite of constraint is willingness. The feeding of the flock is to be done with the right heart. Our motivation is not dishonest gain but it is to be done with a ready mind.

1 Peter 5:3:
Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

Elders are not to domineer over those in their care, because they are God’s heritage. The flock will follow the example that is given to them. What example do we want people to be following? We are commanded that we are to love one another as Jesus loved us.

Philippians 3:17:
Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

We are to look to those that walk in his steps as our example. An example of love and care for the believers is found in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, when he wrote, “So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us” (1 Thess. 2:8). God wants us to be taken care of and he also wants us to take care of his heritage. He does not want to harm us, but he wants to take care of us. “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away” (1 Pet. 5:4). What a great and glorious day that shall be!

Through my ordination ceremony, I realized how personal God is to us and how His word is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. I knew when Rev. Sullivan spoke with the laying on of hands that the message was not from man but from God. How could a man possibly know my heart’s desire? I would like to thank Rev. Sullivan for his heart of service, as well as Rev. Jerome Lucas and brother Dermot Byrne for their prayers and support, and for standing with me on that occasion; also my wife, Vivienne, our family, and all those who witnessed my ordination.



From the October 2004 issue of The Vine & Branches