Aspen Christian Counseling

Are You a Shepherd?

November 17, 2017
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Michael Behmer

At the end of his gospels, Jesus left fairly simple, but by no means easy, instructions to the leaders of his newly created church:

  • “Tend to my sheep” - John 21:17
  • “Follow me” - John 21:19
  • “Go therefore and make disciples...” - Matthew 28:19
  • “...baptize them…” -Matthew 28:19
  • “...teach them to observe all that I have commanded….” - Matthew 28:19
  • “Go into the world and proclaim the gospel…” -Mark 16:15
  • “You will be my witnesses...to the ends of the earth…” - Acts 1:8

Jesus is the Good Shepherd, ultimately in charge, and he created his church to be led by sub-shepherds, who are also sheep.

THE JOB OF THE SHEPHERD IS TO LOVINGLY FEED, NURTURE AND PROTECT THE FLOCK THAT GOD HAS ENTRUSTED THEM WITH.

When one of Jesus’ shepherds begins to drift out of his appointed job description, things can go badly for the entire flock, shepherd included. In our hyper-connected culture it is easy for leaders to become less like shepherds and more like firefighters. With the ability to communicate our sheeply trials and woes over a vast distances instantaneously, shepherds can feel like first responders rushing to the the call of “Fire!”

But firefighters and shepherds operate very differently:

fireshep.png

Firefighters are a vital part of keeping our communities safe, but they are not the same as shepherds. Many church leaders and soul care providers slip out of shepherding and into a fire fighting stance. This role-shift can be exhausting and demoralizing to the one who is called to be a shepherd.

Do you see yourself (or those around you) slipping from the job description of shepherding a flock to responding to every emergency of the attendees of your church?

If you struggle to stay in the role of a shepherd, remember who Jesus is as our shepherd. Jesus is the Good Shepherd even to his sub-shepherds (as they are also his sheep!). Only Jesus perfectly led/leads his church. This is good news for imperfect leaders.

JESUS WAS NOT A HARRIED, STRESSED OUT ENTREPRENEUR. HE WAS A NURTURER AND A LISTENER AND GRACEFULLY LED THROUGH HUMBLE SACRIFICE.

Jesus also knows his flock intimately: who and when members of the flock would go astray and fall into conflict.

Can you call on Jesus and lean on his perfect righteousness today as a shepherd? The good news for shepherds is that you do not need to prove yourself to God or anyone else. His righteousness is now yours! His perfect track record has been transferred to you and now God the Father sees you, shepherd, as he see his Son, the Good Shepherd.

WHERE DO YOU NEED TO REPENT OF FIREFIGHTING? WHAT PROMISES OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD CAN CAUSE RELIEF AND HAPPINESS IN YOU TODAY?

(Caveat: The calling of shepherd does not disqualify one from having other roles/jobs outside of the church context. The calling of a shepherd only disqualifies one from being something other than a shepherd in the church context.

A “side hustle” is a part time job that can be worked alongside of a primary calling to help supplement financial and certain work-related emotional needs.

To learn more about this concept, we commend a great resource in Side Hustle by Chris Guillebeau.)

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