You probably have prejudiced opinions about shepherds. Today, in the world and perhaps in the church, the word shepherd triggers certain visuals to the human mind. Such visuals may include a man in a robe amongst knee-length wheat or grass gently petting a sea of sheep. This shepherd is friendly, congenial, and to say the least “non-threatening”. But is that the type of shepherd we see in the Bible? Is that the kind of shepherd Jesus is imaged after? Should this image of a shepherd inform how we view our “shepherd”/pastor?
In one sense, shepherds were friendly, congenial, and “non-threating” to the sheep. But on the other hand, shepherds were tough, rustic, and protective. The rod and staff of a shepherd could run away fear and instill peace in the face of enemies (Psalm 23:4). The hands of a shepherd would kill bears and lions in defense of the sheep (1 Samuel 17:34-36). Yes, the biblical shepherd even lays down his life for the sheep (John 10:11).
So what would be the most relevant, potent, and coveted blessing for a fold of defenseless animals? What more could sheep ask for but a shepherd who is willing to feed, lead, protect, and yes, even die for the flock? God demonstrates his favor and blessing to his beloved sheep by giving them shepherds after his own heart (Jeremiah 3:15). God graciously supplies steady and stable shepherds to watch over his blood-purchased sheep (Acts 20:28).
Without shepherds, the sheep will go astray. Without shepherds, the sheep are marked as prey. May God grant us thankful hearts for the shepherds who feed us the word, lead us through the world, and protect us from the wolves.
So the next time you think of a shepherd think of this: A man, called by God, ready to fight for the life of sheep. Think of a man prepared to war for your soul. Think of a man ready to lay it all out in the pulpit so his hands would be clean of innocent blood. A shepherding pastor is not merely a community leader or an articulate entertainer, he is a man prepared to protect the priceless sheep of God. Such a shepherd is worthy of honor, respect, and loyalty. Praise God for sheep with a shepherd!
Who is your shepherd? In what ways do you demonstrate their value?
For God’s Glory,