Loving Shepherd, raise up leaders after Your own heart to care for Your people and bring Your church to maturity.
What are the characteristics of Israel's shepherds?
Leadership is always making the news. Political, business, even church leaders attract daily attention. Some of this may be unsolicited, whereas much of it is probably sought, because it's important to be seen by others in the battle for ratings and influence. It's not impressive now, and neither was it then.
The words used to describe leadership are usually full of dynamism: powerful, decisive, active, authoritative, muscular, dominant. Rarely do leaders describe themselves as shepherds, pastors or servants. The leaders in Jeremiah's time were meant to share God's heart--to build the people up instead of destroying them with their greed. Yet these so-called "shepherds" (1,2) were divisive and destructive.
Picking up on the most well-known image in Psalm 23, Jesus refers to himself as the "Good Shepherd" (John 10:11,14). His is an authority demonstrated through sacrifice, service, and death itself. This kind of power is not gained through calculating or measuring the influence gained. Loving and serving others by living out a vision of God's kingdom is enough reward.
Honor, bless, and support your leaders. Pray that they seek intimacy with God and desire to be true to him alone.
Jesus, thank You that You are a Shepherd willing to lay down Your life for Your sheep. May we learn to lay down our lives.
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