“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” — John 10:11
The Good Shepherd
Coaches can learn a lot about leadership from shepherds. On farms and ranches, sheepherders often live in trailers near the sheep because sheep need constant care. These animals can’t defend themselves against bears, bobcats, coyotes, wild dogs, wolves, eagles or poisonous snakes. If they know the shepherds are nearby, then the livestock are calm and less fearful. Sheepherders sometimes use sheepdogs to keep the herd together since sheep are prone to wander. Sheep keepers must be alert because sheep will eat poisonous plants and drink toxic water.
When David was a boy, he kept sheep for his father. Keeping sheep is a tough job, but David did it well. He wasn’t afraid of Goliath because he faced many wild animals when he kept sheep. “Moreover David said, ‘The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:37, NKJV). As David grew up and became king of Israel, his experience as a shepherd prepared him for leadership. Shepherds learn patience, toughness, courage and how to bring everybody together for the greater good. When David starting writing psalms for worship, the Holy Spirit led him to compare the constant care of a shepherd to the ever-watching eye of Almighty God.
In times of danger, David encourages us to look to God for guidance, provision and protection. Why should we fear if we have a shepherd watching us who never gets sleepy?
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” — Psalm 23:1-4, NKJV
The best shepherd is God. “He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young” (Isaiah 40:11, NKJV). When Jesus came, He did more than risk His life for us. He died for us. Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
Jesus is firm but gentle and didn’t ask His disciples to do anything He wouldn’t do Himself. Are we seeking to be a shepherd like Jesus as we lead teams, families and churches?
— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Ga.
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