THE HEART OF A SHEPHERD

THE HEART OF A SHEPHERD

*BIBLE READING: EZEKIEL 34:1-32; JEREMIAH 23:1-8*

*”Tend (nurture, guard, guide, and fold) the Flock of God that is [your responsibility], not by coercion or dishonourably motivated by the advantages and profits [belonging to the office], but eagerly and cheerfully; Not domineering [as arrogant, dictatorial, and overbearing persons] over those in your charge, but being examples (patterns and models of Christian living) to the Flock (the Congregation).”1 Peter 5:2-3(AMP)*

 

The heart of a shepherd

 

A pastor in the Body of Christ is not a CEO of a business. Department leaders in the Church are not drill sergeants over the privates. Every leader is called of God to care for and love and lead a flock of sheep. Every leader is to pattern his or her leadership after the model of a shepherd.

In Mark 6:34, Jesus bewailed the fact that His Flock was like sheep without a shepherd. All sheep need good shepherds who will naturally care for the Flock. Sadly, there are people all over the world who were once members of Churches in the Body of Christ. But now they sit at home, feeling okay because they live a relatively moral life and remember the doctrinal teachings they learned years ago. But they don’t have a Church and they don’t have a shepherd. They aren’t being led to green pastures, but overgraze where they once were. They aren’t drinking from still waters and they have no protection in the valley of the shadow of death. *(Ps. 23)*

 

The heart of a shepherd

In I Peter 5:1, the minister was told to *“feed the Flock of God which is among you.”* Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 2:20 that Timothy had the heart of a shepherd:*“For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.”* The twenty third chapter of Jeremiah contrasts wicked shepherds and good shepherds. In verses one and two, we read about wicked shepherds: *“Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of My Pasture! saith the Lord. Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed My people; “Ye have scattered My Flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.”* In verse four we are told about the blessing of having good shepherds: *“And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord.”

 

The heart of a shepherd

Psalm 23 tells us about the Lord as our Shepherd. But it also reveals much about what is in the heart of every good shepherd, and how we are to feel and act as shepherds. It is written from the perspective of a sheep:
*(1.) Verse One:* The Lord condescends to assume the lowly Office of Shepherd over His Church. When He is my Shepherd, I will never want.

*(2.)Verse Two:* He leads me to green pastures i.e., lush, life-sustaining promises of Salvation and Hope. I can drink from still waters which aren’t swift, dangerous currents but still, refreshing drinks from His Spirit.

*(3.) Verse Three:* He revives my flagging spirit and leads me away from danger.

*(4.) Verse Four:* No fear! Even in the shadowy valleys where I cannot see the dangerous predators lurking, His Rod is there to protect and discipline while His Staff is there to draw and comfort me.

*(5.) Verse Five:* He prepares the tableland – spreading minerals to promote lush vegetation, uprooting poisonous weeds even before I arrive. He watches for enemies such as wolves and snakes. He anoints my head with healing oil, which keeps the flies away and lessens friction when I “butt heads” with other sheep. My cup is more than full.

The heart of a shepherd

*(6.) Verse Six:* This is an indisputable fact: Goodness and Mercy will follow me all my life and then I will inherit the joy of forever in a Glorious New Heaven and New Earth.

The Lord is the Perfect Example of a Shepherd. He has the Heart of a Shepherd. But every leader in the Body of Christ must endeavour to cultivate such a heart and show that indeed we are shepherds according to His Heart. *(Jer. 3:15)*

*PRAYER:*

Father in Heaven, to You alone do we ascribe all the Glory and Honour due to You. O Lord, we ask that You give us the heart of a shepherd in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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