1 Corinthians 1:10-13 – I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? (NIV 1984)
My Musing – It can be a dangerous thing to do, to get so wrapped up in a leader, that you lose sight of who it is that you were following in the first place. We’ve gotten a taste of that in recent weeks and months as certain high-profile ministry leaders have “fallen,” or at least stumbled. Where does that leave the faithful flock? Or the “replacement” shepherd that must carry on?
We also see it on occasion, when there are changes in leadership due to retirement, pastors moving on to a new flock, or other such changes in a Church. Some followers, leave the flock to follow the past leader to their new “pasture,” never giving the new shepherd a chance. Others simply fall out of the flock altogether, so tied to the former shepherd to continue on anywhere. Still others remain as “baaad” sheep, criticizing the new shepherd (“our old shepherd never did it that way”) or otherwise causing quarrels and creating divisions amongst the rest of the flock that is trying to remain faithful. Then, there is that last group. Staying faithful throughout the changes, some of which might be hard, uncomfortable or involve a shepherding (worship?) style they really don’t prefer, all for the sake of the rest of the flock and the shepherd they really have been following all along – the Good Shepherd.
My Advice – When changes come (some that may personally disappoint), and they will, stay faithful to the flock and to Christ. Paul, Apollos and Cephas were all good shepherds of the flock. But all were following Christ. Eventually, they passed the torch to others. Paul was martyred and left his calling to people like Timothy, John Mark and Luke, also all good shepherds. And the Church survived. After all, who was it that was really crucified for the Church? For you? Soli Deo Gloria!