by Nick and Brian Schwarz
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Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? (Ezekiel 34:2).
In the days of the prophet Ezekiel, the kings and senior government officials of the people of Israel were corrupt and self-serving. They failed to set a good example for their people. Many of Israel’s religious leaders also failed in their duty as spiritual shepherds.
In our day, too, corruption and scandal shadow leaders in every area of life: politics and government, business, sport, schools and other institutions, churches, charities and family homes. They abuse their power or fail in their duty to set a good example and guide, protect and provide for those for whom they are responsible. When shepherds don’t shepherd properly, their sheep suffer. They lose faith in their shepherds, wander off on their own, and find themselves lost or in harm’s way. At that point, they are prone to attaching themselves to anyone or anything – even wolves in disguise – that might relieve their misery and provide direction, security and sustenance.
Jesus called Peter, Paul and other apostles to ‘feed his sheep’ and bring them into God’s sheepfold. Through their shepherding, Gentiles like us became part of his flock. In the same way, Jesus calls each of us also to be shepherds of people around us – our children and grandchildren, our students in our schools, our friends and neighbours, our workmates, our customers or clients, our patients, our carers, our teammates and our opponents – to help them to realise that being a part of Jesus’ flock is the best thing that could ever happen to them.
Let us pray for God’s help to live out our calling as shepherds.
Thank you, Jesus, our Good Shepherd, for loving us so much and wanting us so much to be part of your flock that you sacrificed your life for us. Give us courage, determination, persistence, winsomeness and other good qualities that will help us to shepherd people around us so that they, too, might become part of your eternal flock. Amen.