Driven Too Hard

Driven Too Hard

13 January 2021

Jim Stephens

Reading: Genesis 31-33; Luke 13

12 “Well,” Esau said, “let’s be going. I will lead the way.” 13 But Jacob replied, “You can see, my lord, that some of the children are very young, and the flocks and herds have their young, too. If they are driven too hard, even for one day, all the animals could die. 14 Please, my lord, go ahead of your servant. We will follow slowly, at a pace that is comfortable for the livestock and the children. I will meet you at Seir.” (Genesis 33:12-14 NLT)

Jacob was—always had been—a shepherd. Esau was a warrior prince leading an army of 400 battle-ready men. Leading family and flocks requires a different pace of travel than leading an army.

Jacob knew that to try to drive the flocks and move his family at the same pace that Esau would set would be devastating, especially to the young and to the weak. So he said to Esau, “We can go to the same place, but we will have to move at a different pace, because my first responsibility is to the flock and the family.”

I believe this is a principle of shepherd leadership. In a healthy church, there are some in the congregation who are strong and can be trained and mobilized for battle. They can respond quickly to change and take on projects and fight the battles.

In a healthy, growing church, there are also those who are young and not yet mature, those who are weak or wounded and not able to adapt to change quickly, and the children.
Don’t overlook the weak, the wounded, and the young! The pace they can sustain without suffering harm is different from the pace of the warriors.

Wise shepherd leaders recognize this reality and ensure that the pace of travel (activity, challenge, and change) for the flock and the family is survivable and non-destructive.


Father, Please give us, and help us to be, shepherd leaders with wisdom to know how to move the flock and the family at a healthy, sustainable, survivable pace, and also know how to mobilize the warriors to travel fast and fight hard. Be our Good Shepherd and our Victorious King and help us learn to lead with both realities in our minds and hearts. Amen.

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