“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.” (John 10:11-13)
Why would anyone want to be a leader? When times are tough Jesus here illustrates that leaders are not to think of their own well-being, but that of their flock. When a wolf is coming, the true shepherd considers his life as worthy to be spent for his sheep. Instead of protecting himself and making sure that his safety is secure, the shepherd-leader of the flock lays down his life for the sheep.
In a turbulent economy where bankruptcy looms large on the horizon for many companies and employees hear rumors of lay-offs and cutbacks – where are the shepherds? Don’t these circumstances have the opportunity to turn us leaders into hirelings without even noticing it? I mean, I have to protect my family, right? Maybe. But that’s the mindset of the hireling and not the shepherd. The Shepherd never abandons his sheep. He lays down his life for them. Does that mean he should lay down his family’s life for them as well?
“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” (James 3:1)
This is an aspect of leadership that isn’t taught and is difficult to learn. I fear I have much more to learn about being a shepherd than I once thought. And….there’s more hireling in me than I would like to admit.
. . . and not just where I work, but also in my marriage and my family.