Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Life of a Shepherd

As the letter of 1 Peter draws to a close, the writer, most likely Peter, encourages those who are elders in the church. I could do a whole entry on the term elder, but not my focus here. The encouragement offered is to be a good shepherd of the flock God has appointed you to. This idea of the good shepherd in the world of the church has become a very powerful and responsibility laden term. Form my experience when people refer to a pastor as a shepherd, they mean someone who will take care of the flock.

Now there is a component to the life of a shepherd that involves care, but the most significant role of the shepherd, research is so much fun, is one who motivates and supervises the movement of the sheep from place to place. The movement is not just for the sake of movement, but it is to get the sheep in the idea place for their growth and effectiveness. This is so much more than providing care, it means having a vision and understanding what lies ahead.

This is not how we have come to understand a shepherd and thus the job is made even more difficult. There are times when the shepherd has to be confrontational, there are times when the shepherd must take the sheep to places they do not want to go, there are times when the shepherd must use their crook to move the sheep. Not exactly the images of a shepherd we are use to.

In closing, that wonderful image of Jesus with the lamb around his shoulders has become the epitome of the shepherd, but it is not the actual image. The owner or master is the one who would carry a lamb as such, not the shepherd. the shepherd would have the responsibility of keeping the sheep from getting into such situations by leading them to other places.

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