A Plea for Good Shepherds
We need good shepherds to help us interpret the issues of our day from a Christian worldview.
The leaders of God’s people in the Old Testament are called shepherds. They are commissioned to protect the sheep and lead them to nourishment. The sheep, in turn, produce the wool that contributes to the flourishing of the family and society. In the New Testament, Jesus calls himself the “good shepherd” (John 10:11). He demonstrated what true leadership looks like. Since his ascension to the right hand of the Father, he works through his delegated and empowered leaders to equip his people (sheep) (Ephesians 4:11-16). When these shepherds neglect their calling or confuse their assignment, the sheep are confused and malnourished. They are vulnerable to the wolves.
The Dangers of Wolves
Both shepherds and wolves love sheep. The wolves love them to consume. They use the sheep for their own purpose. They care more about what the sheep provide for them than they do for the sheep. Sadly, there are many wolves in shepherd’s disguise. Too many leaders have been more interested in the acquisition of names and addresses, tithing units, seats in the pew, and donors than the wholeness of the sheep. Insecure people trying to shepherd have a hard time, because they tend to find their identity in the applause of the sheep rather than in the pleasure of their master.
When the angels appeared to shepherds at the time of Jesus’ birth, they were appearing to the lowest rung of free society. Not even the best shepherd was invited into polite society. Just imagine a lowly shepherd trying to make a name for himself among those outside the shepherd community, or even more ridiculous trying to elevate his status by listening to the sheep praise him. Good shepherds get their pleasure in well-protected and well-equipped sheep who stay healthy enough to produce good wool. It is the owner’s pleasure that matters.
Passive shepherds allow the wolves to devour the sheep. We must not be fooled into believing all the wolves died in Bible days. There are many voices trying to deceive and allure the vulnerable sheep. We suffer in a culture torn by “spin.” The news we hear can’t be trusted. Bias has become the norm. Walter Cronkite is dead, and so is trust in the Media, in the Congress, in the Presidency, and too often in the church. The sheep don’t know where to find refreshing water and green grass. They are afraid to lie down beside still waters. The shepherds are busy with their own agendas while the wolves lick their chops. (The Stream seeks to be a place where sheep can come and get the news from trusted sources.)
Good Shepherds, Step Up and Lead
Step up, shepherds! Please!
Help us interpret the issues of our day from a Christian worldview. Abortion, immigration, freedom of conscience, and free speech are not just political issues to be left to the politicians. They are moral issues stemming from spiritual reality. Misunderstanding these issues is deadly. We need a trustworthy perspective that is above political parties. Don’t just tell us to vote. Tell us why it is moral to vote. Don’t tell us how to vote. Tell us how to think from a gospel-perspective. We can’t spend all day researching all the issues. We have jobs and families. Lead us to good sources where we can learn to engage issues beyond talking points. We are grateful for the years of study you have invested in theology, philosophy, and political science. Please use it now to equip us to think, to believe, and to act as children of light facing a dark world.
Jim Denison in a recent blog quoted Albert Einstein. “The world is too dangerous to live in — not because of the people who do evil, but because of the people who sit and let it happen.”
Please, shepherds. Don’t neglect your calling. Equip us. Mobilize us. Inspire us with truth and love. Our present lives and the future of our families are at stake.