Shepherding God's people
S - Jer 23:1-4 (NASB)
“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” declares the LORD. 2 Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel concerning the shepherds who are tending My people: “You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; behold, I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds,” declares the LORD. 3 “Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fruitful and multiply. 4 I will also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the LORD.
O - The context of this scripture is speaking of the leaders of Israel and Judah at this time, but it is very applicable to us to day. Jeremiah's prophecy was likely speaking of how the kings, and levitical leaders had not shepherded God's people well, and as a result God's people have wandered far from God. The further they wandered, the more evil their deeds became. We see this all the way up to when Jesus comes and shakes things up, and restores a good shepherd in place of leadership over God's people. The truth is this principle of being a good shepherd apply's to all leaders of God's people, up to today. Shepherds of God's people are required to tend to, gather, and lead them well so they feel cared for, not lost, hurt, and seperated. The principle is good for the sheep and in the best interest of the shepherd. The sheep are what bear fruit. Without the sheep the shepherds livelihood are at risk. Healthy sheep reproduce them self and the flock grows. If they are cared for well they will be fruitful and multiply. If they are stressed and scattered, little fruit will be yielded.
A - The application for me is as leader and a mentor to up and coming leaders is to better understand and apply the good shepherd model for leading people. The goal is to be a shepherd leader like Jesus, whose sheep know his voice, and follow him, and he will not let them down. Practically we can accomplish this by following Jesus' example of good shepherding:
1. Build relationships first - the sheep must know your voice, and they get to know your voice, when you spend time with them. Without this, they may know you title, but not know your voice, and how to discern it from other voices in the wind.
2. Lead them to green pasture - the leader needs to be focused on where to go so that the flock may thrive. If the leader is vision-less and directionless the sheep will begin to wander.
3. Tend to the sheep - in the process of being in the pasture, you will have injured sheep who step in holes, get sick, or are even trampled on by a few other sheep. The good shepherd goes after and cares for these injured within the flock. As leaders we are to know the condition of our flock, and tend to those injured, weak, or weary.
P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord that you would continue to train and and equip me in what it means to be a good shepherd. I may never arrive at being the shepherd Jesus is to all of us, but help me Lord to be a sheperd who builds relations, has vision and direction, and knows the condition of those who follow, ministering to their needs. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.