Pastors are shepherds of God’s people. Shepherds are supposed to protect God’s sheep, not lead them to the enemy. However, hireling pastors have crept into God’s labor field and have persuaded the sheep to follow them rather than follow Christ, who is wisdom. They are carnal shepherds and they lack consideration for the sheep. Rather than lead the sheep to safety with love, the hireling pastor selfishly exposes them to danger. He does not care about the sheep, for he has forgotten that the sheep do not belong to him.
It is unthinkable that any pastor would tell their congregation to not wear facemasks to a church service during the coronavirus pandemic. But 45-year-old pastor, Greg Locke did just that. Pastor Locke has repeatedly called COVID-19 a hoax. He has also subverted emergency mandates and has refused to comply with guidance from public health officials. In addition, Locke recently warned his congregation about wearing a facemask at his church.
Locke delivered his 5-minute tirade to the Global Vision Bible Church congregation in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. In his sermon he said, “…you start showing up; all these masks and all this nonsense, I will ask you to leave,” said Locke. He added, “I am not playing these Democrat games up in this church.” In his sermon, Locke also denied the delta variant. Ironically, Pastor Locke’s sermon came at a time when COVID-19 infection in his home state is soaring.
It appears that Locke’s primary concern for his congregation is their human rights. However, the primary concern of a pastor should be the safety of the sheep that he is entrusted with.
When we come together as a church, we should “consider one another to stir up love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24). There is nothing good in telling people to not wear a facemask. Therefore, politics and mandates should have no place in the presence of God.
Jesus is the Shepherd of shepherds. He is the model shepherd. Listen to what He says about hirelings, shepherds, and sheep:
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know My sheep and am known by My own.”John 10:11-14
In His sermon, Jesus said, “the hireling does not ‘care’ about the sheep.” Care is a synonym for love. Christ gave us only one commandment, that we love one another (John 13:34-35). We will never love each other until care for each other.
It is incomprehensible that you could love me and not care that I may become ill, or even die because you refuse to wear a facemask. It is such a small sacrifice to save your neighbor, friend, or family member.
The Bible tells us to do everything with love” (1 Corinthians 16:14). While Pastor Locke may be standing on his faith to fight the coronavirus, he does not realize that he is tempting God in his rebellion. In Psalm 91:11-12, the Bible says God will give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your days. In their hands, they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. However, when the devil tried to make Jesus jump off the temple, Jesus said, “It is written, You shall not tempt the Lord your God” (Matthew 4:5-7).
I commend Pastor Locke and others for standing on faith. But it does no good to have faith that can move mountains and not have love. The Bible says that such an individual amounts to nothing.
“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”1 Corinthians 13:2
We are in a coronavirus pandemic. It is a scientific fact that unvaccinated people will contract COVID-19. Yet there are pastors like Greg Locke who continue to place more value on human rights than human life. To Pastor Greg Locke and hireling pastors universally, who refuse to follow COVID-19 guidelines, I say, “Your congregation is God’s sheep whom He entrusted to your care. Don’t forget Who made you a shepherd and why? You are responsible for the lives of the people you lead.
Respect the word of God which says, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves” (Romans 13:1-2).
Stop rebelling against science, government, and mandates. Don’t be a hireling pastor. Be an obedient servant of the Lord and bless your people by teaching them the entire Bible and not just the parts you like. Most importantly, as a pastor, you must teach by example. So, if you care for me and the rest of the world, don’t be too proud to take advice from our guardian angels in the field of medicine. Follow COVID-19 guidelines, wear a facemask, and if you really love me, would you at least consider getting a COVID-19 vaccine.