The Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. ~ John 10:14-16

Jesus in John 10 as the good shepherd. He knows his sheep and his sheep know him. It is interesting to note the different ways that sheep are led versus the manner in which cattle are led. I have watched many westerns in my growing up years. In fact, I would consider myself an expert on old western movies and tv shows. I could list my viewing credentials, but I will not because of my time allowance. Sheep are led. The shepherd is out front leading the sheep and they are following. There are usually some sheep dogs to help some of the wondering sheep to stay in the flock. Cattle are not led from the front. They are driven from the back and the sides. In fact, the official nomenclature that is used is “cattle drive.” You have people on horses and on each side of the herd driving and guiding the cattle to where they need to go. These two different models serve as a reminder of two different ways to lead a church.

I would most thoroughly embrace a model of leadership that is follow me as I follow Jesus. That is the sheep / shepherd approach. The other model is usually this is what you ought to be doing. It may even have lists of how you should be living. That is the driving cattle approach. Get things done. We must accomplish these tasks. Focus on the task and if you have time pastor the people.

The sheep / shepherd approach is a relational model. Notice that in John 10:14-16 Jesus says, “…I lay down my life for the sheep.”  Jesus goes on and says that his sheep listen to his voice. The psalmist states it so well in Psalm 23: “H**e leads me beside quiet waters. He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…”

Notice some of the verbs describing the great shepherd. He leads. He refreshes. He guides. Therefore, I will fear no evil for you are with me. It is relational. It is face to face. It is seeing where I need to go because the path is laid out. He goes before me. Preparing a path. Opening doors. Whispering into my soul. You can do this. I am with you. Have courage. Watch and see what he can do with you. In you. And through you.

Lord Jesus thank you for your guidance in life. My life in particular. Thank you for opening doors for me and opening doors for my wife and children. I stand in awe of your patience and your love for us. In Jesus name amen.