The Good Shepherd
08 August 2010
Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 1-2; John 10
14 “I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me. 15 In the same way, the Father knows me and I know the Father. I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary.” (John 10:14-15 MSG)
The first part of John 10 is the “Good Shepherd” story. This morning I saw three kinds of people Jesus spoke about in relation to the sheep. By the way, we Christ-followers are the sheep!
There is the Good Shepherd who puts the sheep before himself and sacrifices himself if necessary for the well-being of the sheep.
• There is the stranger-thief who is only interested in stealing sheep and will even harm or kill them in the process.
• There is the hired hand who cares for the sheep, but is only interested in a paycheck and if the job gets tough or dangerous, he’s out of there.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He puts the well-being of the sheep before his own needs and desires. He sacrifices himself for the sheep. He knows the sheep and the sheep know him. He won’t run. I thought about this in terms of Christian leaders today. I suppose we still have all three kinds of leaders – stranger-thieves, hired hands, and good shepherds.
But here’s the part that has application to all of us. We’re all sheep part of the time and we’re all shepherds part of the time. We’re all sheep under the care and protection of Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd. We all must be part of the flock, and that means that we’re under the leadership and care of another. And we’re all shepherds and influencers of someone else.
Let’s be good sheep and good shepherds. Sounds complicated? It’s not really. It simply means being willing to follow our God-appointed leaders and pray for them and hold them accountable to Jesus’ Good Shepherd example, and also being willing to lead and influence others and hold ourselves to Jesus’ Good Shepherd example.
Father, I purpose to be a good shepherd who puts the well-being of your flock above my own desires. I’m also determined to be a good sheep! Help us to do our best at what you’ve called us to be and to do. Amen.