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The Role of a Shepherd

Updated: Jan 31, 2021

In recent years it has become more obvious than ever before, that what we feed ourselves reflects in our social media posts, conversations with others, and even the intolerance for some who we may or may not agree with. I am alarmed by how much I can get caught up in different things, which led me to this thought, a shepherd leads the flock to feed in a green pasture but does not feed the flock themselves. This was a curious thought that caused me to ponder for a few days.

Before I begin in this, I want to make a distinction. I am using the term shepherd in Christian terms, for Jesus and those who are leaders in the faith. This can apply to leadership in secular business and secular education. Leaders in faith, education, and business who are leading those around them to feed for themselves, help to create accountability for individuals and the group.

Before we go deeper, I want to lay out the duties of a shepherd.

First, the shepherd is a protector. While the sheep are grazing, the shepherd watches over the flock. The shepherd keeps an eye out for predators.

Second, the shepherd will go after a lost sheep. If one wanders away, they will leave the flock to track down the one who wandered away.

Third, the shepherd stays with sheep throughout the day and even night. They will not leave the flock alone out in the open unless it is to go after one who is lost.

Lastly, which I believe is the most important duty, the shepherd leads the flock to pastures that are good for grazing. The shepherd does not feed the flock themselves; they lead the flock where they feed. There may be times when they are walking among the flock and hand feed them, but overall, the sheep feed themselves while the shepherd is watching over them. The shepherd protects them while they are feeding.

The aspect of protection, while the sheep feed, is utmost important for those who believe in Jesus and are followers of Him. We have been taught that He is the Good Shepherd, and He is. We have been taught that He is the Bread of Life and the Word of God, and He is what we feed on, and He is all these things.

There is one last thing I want to build on. He is also the Shepherd who leads us to green pastures to feed ourselves, not simply rely on the handfeeding of others.

By feeding ourselves I am referring to things we choose such as books, television, movies and even politics. Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit of Himself bears witness with our spirit, that we are sons of God.” That means that children of God are led by God. So, we are led where we can feed ourselves and can trust that the Spirit bearing witness with our spirit will quicken us when we are feeding on the wrong things. We must also be ok with being corrected to stop feeding on things that are harmful. Look at our social media posts, reflect on conversations, our TV history and see what we are feeding on.

As I bring this to a close, let keep in mind that all this possible by one thing, relying on the Spirit of Christ.

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