Are you a hireling or a good shepherd? It is a great privilege and honour to have people entrusted to one’s care as a father, mother, teacher, pastor, or unit head, etc. However, God expects anyone with such privilege to be a good shepherd. This post is aimed at helping the reader to evaluate his or her leadership position, no matter how small the person considers it to be.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own – John 10:11-14 (NKJV).

There is excitement for many people when they are made leaders, but many forget that leadership position comes with great responsibility. You may have been made a leader of some person(s) by a man but you were ultimately elected by God (Romans 13:1), and you are accountable to Him. There were other people who desired to be in that position but you were chosen; some may have been more equipped than you were, but you were chosen. Even as a father or a mother, some people long to be one and are still waiting, but you are one already. Therefore, you are not to take your position lightly.

Jesus said in John 20:21 that He sends you even as the Father sent Him. Christ was a good shepherd and He has sent you to be one too. A shepherd has an important role to play in the life of a sheep. This is shown by the fact that once the shepherd is struck the sheep will scatter (Zechariah 13:7). Sheep need the leader to fulfil destiny and God has placed you as one to help the sheep to fulfil destiny. Are you fulfilling this role in the lives of the sheep under you?

The good shepherd

According to John 10:11-14, a good shepherd will give his life for the sheep, he cares for the sheep and will not run away when a wolf comes to attack the sheep. The shepherd also knows his sheep and the sheep know him. But the hireling does not care for the sheep and will run for his own life when a wolf comes, leaving the sheep to be caught by the wolf. He runs because he does not consider the sheep as his own.

David was a good shepherd both of animals and of human beings. He didn’t allow the bear or the lion to kill the animals under his care (1 Samuel 17:34-35). No wonder he did well as a king. One time his people were carried away in his absence, with the help of God, he and his men went after their captors and recovered them all (1 Samuel 30:1-19). Also, our Lord Jesus Christ is a perfect example; He gave his life for the sheep and is still caring for us forever.

A shepherd’s role is two-fold: feeding and tending the sheep (John 21:15-17). Tend means to look after, watch over and care for the sheep, to minister and wait on the sheep. The shepherd feeds the sheep with the word of God (Jeremiah 3:15, Jeremiah 15:16, 1 Peter 2:2, Hebrews 5:12-14), and trains them in the way they should go so that when they grow they will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). He knows them individually and they are known by him. Do you really know your sheep?

When your flock is too large for you to adequately know them well, break them into cell units. Cell units enable you to still get to care for the flock as you should through the help of other able men and women. Jethro advised Moses to adopt this method, he did and it was very helpful (Exodus 18:13-26). Jesus also adopted this method when he needed to feed the multitude with loaves of bread and fish (Luke 9:10-17).

Key to being a good shepherd

Love for God is the main key to being a good shepherd (John 21:15-17). If you love God, you will feed and tend the sheep under you, even as Christ feeds and tends us. Your love for God will compel you to love the sheep with the same love. Of course, it won’t be by your might but by the Holy Spirit (Zechariah 4:6). Love is one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22), and so with Him fully manifested in you, you will be able to love your flock even as Christ loves us (John 15:12).

In conclusion, God believes in you and He knows you are capable of being a good shepherd; that is why He gave you that position in the first place. It is left for you to learn what it takes to be a good shepherd and strive to be like our perfect example, the Lord Jesus. Remember, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13).

How are you able to be a good shepherd to the sheep under you? Please share.

Jesus is Lord!

Ngozi Nwoke
Grace and peace of God be unto you.

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