And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. Luke 2:8 (NIV)
To adequately provide for a flock is a demanding task. The above text of the scriptures illustrates how shepherds can deprive themselves and sometimes risk their lives for the sake of the herd. A flock led by incompetent shepherds cannot but experience exhaustion, starvation and in the worst case, death. While shepherds may provide pasture and water for flocks during daytime, security, protection and the nursing of lambs (essential for multiplication in the folds) require dusk to dawn vigilance. The burden of shepherds to be vigilant round-the-clock is therefore driven by compassion and a sense of responsibility, knowing the vulnerability of the sheep.
Leading humans is more sensitive than guiding sheep, and because leaders shall give an account before God, the stakes are very high. Venturing into shepherding (at home, church or market place) without counting the cost can be overwhelming but it is not a hopeless situation. When men of like passion team up, the incompetence of any individual among them can be salvaged with a pool of tangible and intangible resources to tap from. Parents or leaders that feel exposed in their responsibilities can recover through networking but must first overcome the barriers of pride, fear and distrust.
Do you desire a leadership role? Seek to acquire the essential skills before taking up the noble responsibility. Are you occupying a leadership position? Carry out your duties with all sincerity. Shepherding is the Lord’s idea. The Good Shepherd understands and will reward accordingly the travails of every faithful steward. He feels their joy when “lambs” mature and reproduce, likewise also feels pain for the lost “sheep”.
Whenever a shepherd is struck, sheep are impacted. Pray therefore for grace and protection of those appointed over your homes, churches and government affairs. Remember that the number of men and women in leadership positions that are hirelings is increasing; whilst on a more personalised level, the shepherds at home abandon their flock – leaving more children in broken homes than ever before. And finally, let God bless our nations with competent and compassionate leaders that would watch over their followers sacrificially.