SHEPHERDS MEET THE NEEDS OF IMMORTALS
Psalm 23:1-3 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
Leaders become shepherds when they awaken to the reality that their actions and decisions are able to improve the quality of the lives for those who follow them. This entails a fully integrated life involving the head and hand and heart. Our thinking and doing and being all lend to the development of people. When leaders provide an environment of contentment and abundance, they will find more growth and progress in the lives and actions of others.
Psychologists believe that in order for people to achieve their full potential, certain things must be in place in their lives. First, their basic survival needs of food, clothing, shelter and water must be met. Next they require a sense of protection or security from danger, illness or bodily harm. Then they must have a sense of being a part of some group with acceptance, affection and understanding from others. This is followed by a need for self pride, self respect and status. Once all these needs are met a person can reach full potential. This truth is found throughout Scripture. Scripture teaches us to understand God’s complete love for us and our need to love Him and others with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (actions). It requires strong and tough leaders to display personal qualities of patience, persistence and diligence while working with their flock.
People are not perfect. Yet shepherds are called to lead a group of imperfect souls. Looking at others we first see their physical characteristics. As a relationship develops we then learn about their character, skills, flaws and foibles. We get stuck at this point, failing to see their immortality. We forget that Christ died for them, too. “To be a shepherd requires a bold living out of both mercy and compassion. Choosing mercy means choosing not to punish an individual when justice demands punishment. Choosing compassion means providing for someone when justice demands that they not receive anything. Shepherd leaders can do this because they’ve been awakened to the mercy and compassion they have been shown.”
Shepherd Leadership: Wisdom For Leaders From Psalm 23, by Blaine McCormick & David Davenport, pgs. 20-29.