Of Prophets And Shepherd Boys Crying Wolf


There’s a well-known fable about a shepherd boy who grew bored and decided to sound the alarm that a wolf was getting into the herd of sheep. Out the villagers came with staves and pitchforks to rescue the sheep. Of course there was nothing to rescue them from.

The boy laughed and laughed, it was such fun to see the villagers all in a panic over nothing. As time passed the shepherd boy again grew bored, so once more he cried for the villagers to save the sheep from the wolf. Out the villagers came with staves and pitchforks to rescue the sheep. Of course there was again nothing to rescue them from.

Later an actual wolf crept among the herd. The shepherd boy called for the villagers to come help him save the sheep, but this time no one came. They weren’t about to be fooled by a liar again, not realizing that this time the boy was telling the truth.

Could it be that non-Christians have heard the message of condemnation for sin so often, they are ignoring it as if believers are crying wolf?

At the Orange County Register, there’s an ongoing discussion between a handful of Christians and about the same number of atheists, connected to the banned movie theater church ad. One of the latter group said emphatically that he just wanted Christians to get out of his face.

So should we?

Should we stop waving John 3:16 signs at football games or wearing tee shirts with Bible verses? Should we peel off our bumper stickers that say “Jesus is Lord” and scale back our advocacy for a return to prayer in our schools?

Are those incidental messages coming across as little more than a false cry of wolf?

Or are they more akin to the kinds of things the prophets did? Ezekiel, for example, who lay on his side for over a year enacting a siege against Israel, then flipping to his other side for over a month to do the same against Judah.

Then there was Hosea who married a prostitute, Isaiah who went naked and barefoot for three years, Jeremiah who walked around wearing a yoke on his neck.

All these and more were intended to get people’s attention because they needed to hear God’s warning.

It’s as if a spiritual tsunami was about to break over the idolatrous people, and the prophets were the warning system telling them they needed to get to high ground.

What is it the lost world hears when Christians speak? Is it white noise to them — sound they simply tune out but wish would go away? Is it the cry of wolf they think we repeat for our own amusement?

Is sounding the alarm even what we Christians are called to? Is that how we make disciples?

Your thoughts?

Published in: on April 6, 2011 at 6:33 pm  Comments (4)  
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