I am the good shepherd.
In my previous posts on the leadership of Jesus, I’ve been asking about the significance of Jesus calling himself “the light of the world” and “the bread of life.” Today we’ll look at Jesus calling himself, “the good shepherd.” To a hungry world, Jesus says “I am the bread you are really hungry for.” To a dark world Jesus says “I am the light that will show you the way.” To a lost world Jesus says “I am the shepherd you need.”
In China a few years ago, a 2-year-old toddler wandered out of her father’s hardware store and into a busy alley where she was struck by a vehicle and then by a second vehicle as well. Neither driver stopped. What happened next? Person after person walked or rode by the injured toddler lying in the middle of the street. Eighteen in all passed the girl by. Finally, a 58-year-old lady who collected trash for a living stopped to care for the child and got her help, but it was too late. The badly injured toddler died. For weeks afterwards, the Chinese news outlets and blogs were asking themselves, “Does China have a soul? As the Christian church in China continues to grow I’m praying that heartbreaking events like this will lead more Chinese to find the Good Shepherd Jesus.
We here in the U.S. need the Good Shepherd Jesus just as much as he is needed in China. Los Angeles has declared a state of emergency on the homelessness crisis because tens of thousands of people live on the street every night, not including the tens of thousands who are barely surviving by packing into cramped apartments or sleeping in their cars. Yet the Good Shepherd Jesus can be found in the everyday leaders who reach out to those in need as well as leaders who help create new policies and find new funding to address this crisis. Many followers of Jesus are on the front lines of caring for and providing hope for the homeless in Los Angeles.
This world is lost without a truly good shepherd to lead them. Moreover, each of us is called to emulate Jesus by caring for those God has called us to lead. Perhaps as you look at the sphere of influence God has given to you, you can begin to see how he wants you to shepherd the people through a crisis in this season.
But we can’t lead in a crisis without staying connected to the Good Shepherd Jesus. I’ll talk about that in tomorrow’s devotion. For now, you may want to reflect on the following questions.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
What kind of “shepherds” do people seek to find for guidance in their lives?
Do you find yourself spending more time dealing with crises or “normal” kinds of challenges? Do you tend to be energized by one kind of challenge more than another?
Can you identify a particular need that God might have you take a leadership role in? How does the image of Jesus as a Good Shepherd help you address the issue?
How do you think God has specifically gifted and resourced you as a shepherd leader in this season?
Jesus, no singular title can describe you. Your calling yourself the good shepherd gives me a vision of who you are in my life and how you are calling me to lead in the lives of others. Help me not to shy away from the needs that I see around me. Please give me the courage to address them with your wisdom, love and courage. Amen.