There has never been a greater need for upright leaders in our country than now. It ought not surprise us that the greatest lessons in leadership come not from the latest leadership books but from the Bible. Harvard, Princeton, and Yale were originally founded as training centers to produce godly, Christian leaders. They took their lead from the Good Book.
The Bible often depicts leaders as shepherds (1 Peter 5:2). Being highly domesticated creatures, sheep depend on their shepherd to guide, feed, water, care for and protect them. Especially in biblical times, shepherds endured great hardship to care for their sheep. William McClure Thomason, a protestant missionary to the Holy Land in the 1800’s, heard many stories about shepherds who seemed very much like those we read about in the Bible. Many stories were told to him about shepherds risking their lives at a moment’s notice to defend the flock. On one occasion, a shepherd fought three Bedawin sheep stealers until they hacked him into pieces with their khanjards. He died defending his sheep. A shepherd-leader considers the needs of his or her sheep above their own.
If a leader is a shepherd, there is one thing a leader is not: a wolf (Matthew 7:15). One of the saddest passages of Scripture occurs in Ezekiel 34:1-4: “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not the shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourself with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. And you have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.’” Such leaders resemble wolves rather than shepherds. Sadly many today lead as wolves. They are in it for themselves. They line their pockets as well as their friend’s pockets. They advance themselves at the expense of those under their care.
Jesus was the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4). He laid down his life for the sheep. The greatest leaders acknowledge their sinful tendency to be in it for themselves and turn to Jesus their Chief Shepherd. Having their own hoofs mended, their hearts restored, they are ready to follow his lead and lead as a shepherd and not as a wolf. To find out more about leading as a shepherd, check out http://www.enactedword.com.