You Are Called to Lead! Shepherd the flock that God has entrusted to your care!
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” John 21: 1-19
Jesus used the metaphor of fishing as he called his disciples to a kingdom mission. They were Galileans, and so the metaphor for them. The Promised Land has little water, and the metaphor would have been inappropriate for God’s chosen desert people. For that reason, fishermen and fishing are only mentioned three times in the Old Testament and thirty-seven times in the New Testament.
By comparison, flocks, sheep and shepherds are mentioned more than 500 times in the Bible. The Father describes himself as a shepherd, “The Lord is my Shepherd”. Jesus calls himself “the Good Shepherd”. When Jesus restored Peter, he used the sheep/shepherd metaphor with the fisherman.
If we had to choose one God-given metaphor to capture the mission of biblical leaders it would be the metaphor of shepherd. God’s mission for us is to care for the part of his flock which he entrusts to our care.
When God called the father of the chosen people, he chose Abram. Abram was a shepherd. The blood covenant described in Genesis 15 was a familiar covenant practice among nomadic, shepherding people. God used the ordinary practice for his extraordinary covenant promise.
When God’s people were enslaved in Egypt, God called Moses to lead. To prepare Moses for the task, God first sent him into the desert to serve as a shepherd of sheep to prepare him to be shepherd to his people.
When Israel was facing the giants of Philistia, represented by the champion Goliath, God chose a shepherd boy David. David used the tool of the shepherd, a stone, so that the world would know the God of Israel.
Abram, Moses, and David – Each was chosen. Each was called. Each had been prepared to shepherd people by shepherding flocks. Each exhibited the flaws of our human nature. Yet, by God’s grace, each was faithful to the call to lead.
Once the chosen people became an organized nation and Jerusalem was settled, God chose Solomon to build his House. The Temple was the place where God’s holy presence would dwell. God chose the descendants of Aaron and called them to the task of being the spiritual shepherds of his people.
The line of priests was human too. Some were faithful. By the time that Jesus arrived on earth, the chosen shepherds had failed in their mission. They had become self-serving and neglected their call.
Ezekial 34 is one of the harshest and most pointed passages in the books of the prophets. I encourage you to pause a moment now and read it.
In summary, Ezekial 34 is a rebuke to the priests, the shepherds of the chosen people. They are rebuked pointedly for neglecting their call and for not shepherding the flock. And in the rebuke God says, “Because the shepherds of my people have been unfaithful to their call, I, I myself, will come and be shepherd to my people”.
Jesus came. The prophecy was fulfilled in Messiah Jesus. He called himself the Good Shepherd. God kept his promise.
Jesus – He was chosen by his Father. He was called to a Kingdom mission. He had no flaws of human nature. By God’s plan and grace, the Good Shepherd became the perfect lamb of God.
The Good Shepherd led like the perfect shepherd and for his three years on earth modeled leadership like a shepherd. Then he died as a lamb. Then he arose to be Savior, Lord, and King.
But Jesus was not finished yet. For forty days after he arose, he spent time with his disciples, whom he had called and chosen for leadership. He taught them to be like him. He used the shepherd metaphor, passing the baton, with the words, “Now go, fish for people, and be the shepherds who feed my flock.”
That is our call. That is our mission. Be like our Father the Shepherd and his Son the Good Shepherd. Shepherd to his flock. Care for them, so that the flock entrusted to your care is led to the Shepherd!
Devotionals are written by Jeff Blamer, Vice President of Member Services