Shepherd Leadership

In my home you’ll find a lot of books. Like, a lot. There are stacks in my sitting room, the shelves in my office are lined with them, and more often than not there are a couple in my car in case I get somewhere with some free time. Most of the pages of the books have highlighted passages, notes in the margins, and a few post-it notes for good measure.
 
One of my favorite themes to read about is leadership. Stories of people that have crafted great leadership styles, how to become the leader you are looking for, and even how to lead when you aren’t the leader! There is something powerful about being able to lead people; and most leaders will tell you, the first step is learning how to follow.
 
Jesus called himself “The Good Shepherd” to remind us of how He leads. He wanted us to understand that He would stay with us, pull us back when we wandered off and always provide what we need. Shepherds of the day wouldn’t just lead the sheep every day to the same plot of land. They had to find the grass, allow yesterday's ground to have time to grow, and guide the sheep to the freshest of water. In the same way, Jesus, our Shepherd, provides for us.
 
John Maxwell, one of my favorite leadership experts, wrote: “Jesus’ leadership was not empowered by a sense of duty or obligation, or by a desire to build an image, but by compassion.”  And by that compassion, He always provides. True leaders provide for the real needs of those they lead.
 
David reminds this of us best in Psalm 23:
 
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23).
 
I shall not be in want… He will be sure we have what we need.
He makes me lie down… He provides the rest our bodies and souls need.
He leads me beside quiet waters… sheep could drown even getting a drink of water in choppy streams. He will guide us to meet our needs in a way most safe for us.
He restores my soul… we are rescued, repaired, and revitalized -- each and every day
 
Lord, thank You for being our leader and modeling how to be a leader to us. Help us to willingly follow and to lead with compassion. Amen.

By Carrie Peterson
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