Selfish or selfless?
This is another great chapter for leaders to read and ponder: Are you feeding yourself instead of your flock (the people God has entrusted to your care)? The Bible says these shepherds were eating the fat (translated milk), clothing themselves with the wool (from the flock), and killing those that were well fed (in the flock), but letting their flocks starve. These shepherds were looking after themselves, and they were using the flock for their own personal gain. They took from the flock and even killed the well fed sheep (rich) to get what they wanted. Their lustful cravings and insatiable desires were out of control. They only wanted what was best for them and were willing to do anything to get it.
Even though, as leaders today, we may not go to such extremes, we must be wary concerning this negligent, self-concerned mindset. It is easy to worry only about our own needs. As leaders, we are constantly giving of ourselves. After a while, it’s easy to get tired, drained, burnt out, and even bitter and start only looking after our own well-being.
Now one topic I’m very passionate about is how to avoid burnout. Burnout can be a result of having our priorities out of order. Although I don’t have time to discuss this topic, if this is something you are struggling with, I recommend reading “How to Beat Burnout” by Frank Minirth.
Now, let’s get back on track!
Burnout can be one reason, among many, that causes a leader to have a self-centered outlook. Whatever the cause may be, it is vital to refocus. On what? JOY. Jesus. Others. Yourself. Self, or flesh, needs to be put in its proper place. Naturally flesh wants to be noticed, wants to fulfill its own desires, and do whatever it wants. These shepherds had totally given themselves over to the flesh. The Lord asked, “Shouldn’t shepherds be feeding their sheep?!” Then He goes on to list what they haven’t been doing. Kind of like a yearly job review. They didn’t do so well! However, in this list we find a shepherd’s job description:
– Take care of the weak
– Heal the sick
– Mend what is broken
– Look for those who have wandered away (prodigals)
– Gather in those that are lost
And as seen in this chapter, a shepherd not fulfilling this job description results in:
– Scattered sheep
– Wandering sheep
– Lost sheep
– Sheep left for prey
The consequences of these shepherds’ actions:
– Being an enemy of the Lord
– Being held fully responsible for what happened to the flock
– Rights taken away to feed flock and themselves
They lost their job in this review! And God decided to take over instead (verses 11-31)!
As shepherds or leaders we must not take our position lightly.
Lord, help us to be the best shepherds and leaders we can be and not give in to self-centeredness and negligence or abuse the position you’ve placed us in. Help us to love Your people like You love them and care for them as You would!