Authority can be used selfishly, arbitrarily, or cruelly. It can also be used for good. The Bible makes a unique contribution to understanding how a leader’s authority should be used. It shows how to use authority by pointing to a shepherd’s two main tools, the rod and the staff.
If you describe someone as being “very pastoral,” it implies a warm tenderness towards people. And these are qualities that are certainly a part of the shepherd image, but they’re not at the forefront. In fact, if a shepherd spends all his time nuzzling with the cute, little lambs, or binding up the sick ones, the flock will scatter, starve and die. A shepherd is pre-eminently called to lead.
Over a number of weeks, we’re considering the metaphor of the shepherd for understanding how God views leadership. We’ve seen how the idea of a shepherd points to the need for accountability but also compassion. Today, we look at productivity and provision: how a shepherd feeds the sheep.
A key part of a shepherd’s role involves providing water for the flock. This points to a sometimes neglected aspect of leadership today.
We’ve come up with many different titles for leaders today. And the titles matter. But while each of these titles have value, the Bible defines leadership in a unique way that may help people serving in all levels of leadership better understand their task. The primary metaphor that the Bible uses for leadership is the shepherd. Today we consider one of the implications of that metaphor.
I’m not a Jew. But I do love the Jewish Scriptures. And I believe they contain a compelling reason to read what Christians call the New Testament, and it’s a reason that’s often overlooked.
Even though the movies are cheaply made and incredibly unoriginal, people can’t stop watching them. I think it’s important that we stop to ask why.
Talk about the Trinity often makes Jews and Muslims feel uncomfortable because it sounds as if Christians believe in three gods. And many Christians themselves don’t have a clear sense of how God could be both three and one. Let me offer this beginner’s guide to the Trinity.
Painful feelings of disappointment and hopelessness can force us to re-examine our goals and the basis of our hope. Just doubling down on our hope and trying harder isn’t necessarily the solution.
We need to learn from Hudson Taylor’s example in separating culture from Christianity in sharing Jesus’ message of hope.