Sometimes what a verse does not say is just as important as what it does say.
Take 1 Peter 2:25 for example. It says, “For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
In context, the “shepherd and overseer” to whom they have returned is Jesus, or, more broadly, God. That is important, but also important is what Peter does not say.
For instance, he does not say that the lost sheep were returned to a certain preacher or teacher. Unfortunately, that sometimes happens. People go to a certain church because they like the leader, but when he leaves, so do the people.
Sometimes people are so devoted to a certain author that they quote him as if they were quoting the very word of God. This, however, is a problem.
When people in the church in Corinth started aligning themselves with certain teachers (Paul, Peter or Apollos - 1 Corinthians 1:10-17), Paul was horrified! We are never to be followers of people. The only real shepherd is God!
Another mistake people make is to become a follower of the Bible. How can that be a bad thing?
Well, let me put it this way. Suppose I have the owner’s manual from a 2014 GMC truck. From that manual, I can learn all sorts of things like what size the tires are, what coolant it uses and even what windshield wipers it is supposed to have.
However, if I want to go from Estevan to Vancouver, I am going to need the truck, not the book about the truck. Similarly, we can read a lot about God without actually knowing God, and that is not good enough.
Sometimes people act as if the church is the shepherd. They think that if they worship with the right group then they must be okay. However, in Matthew 7:15 to 23, Jesus says “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven.”
He goes on to say that even though some of them will do great things like preaching and healing, they will be left out because Jesus does not know them. The truth is that you can do Godly things and not really be a Godly person.
As the old saying goes, “Sitting in the chicken coup doesn’t make you a chicken”.
Now, do not hear me saying that Christian people, the Bible or the church are unimportant. They are supremely important. In fact, I would argue that you cannot be a Christian without them. However, they are the means, not the goal!
Knowing the real shepherd is the goal.
Do not settle for anything less.