A shepherd leads eagerly not greedily (1 Peter 5:1-4)

1 Peter 5:1-4

Francis Collins, the Director of the National Institute of Health, gave the commencement address at Southern Methodist University a few years ago. In that address, he mentioned the difference between what political commentator David Brooks calls resume virtues and eulogy virtues. Resume virtues are the things you put on a job application, resume, or CV. Eulogy virtues are the things people will say about you when your work on earth ends. Resume virtues tell the things you did to advance yourself, your position, and your finances. Eulogy virtues tell not only how you handled your successes but also your failures, not only how you treated your peers and coworkers, but how you treated your spouse and children. Collins asked a question to those graduates that we ought to ask ourselves, “Are you spending your time on resume virtues or are you spending your time on eulogy virtues?”

Shepherd leaders lead not greedily but eagerly (1 Peter 5:2). They ask not what can I get but what can I give. They lead not for temporal rewards but eternal rewards (1 Peter 5:4). The cure for the leadership vice of greed is eagerness.

The Jesuits have an old saying, “…live with one foot raised?” One foot raised means always ready to respond to an opportunity to serve. Shepherd leaders ready themselves to mobilize. The shepherd leader is not only willing to sacrifice, but is eager to sacrifice for good.

Former President Bill Clinton allegedly said, “The urgent question of our time is whether we can make change our friend not our enemy.” Clinton could hardly have imagined a global pandemic would change our way of living in the blink of an eye. Is our foot raised? Are we ready to serve? Are we ready to mobilize to meet the need? Is your foot raised? Jesus’ was.

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