Are You a Leader or a Shepherd?

shepherd with three sheep
Photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jsome1/3302055052/">Feliciano Guimarães</a>

Mark 6:30-34

The apostles came back to Jesus and reported what they’d said and done, but so many people were coming and going that they had no time even for a lunch break. So Jesus said to the apostles, “Come by yourselves, and let’s find someplace without all these people to rest.”

They left in a boat to find someplace out of the way, but when the people saw them leaving, they figured out what they were up to and ran ahead from the cities to arrive before them. When Jesus arrived and saw how large a crowd had gathered, he felt for them. They were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began to teach them all kinds of things.

People today are still like sheep without a shepherd. All Jesus did was to recognize and identify with (feel for) their search for meaning.

Notice that it doesn’t say, people were without leaders. They had plenty of those. They had political leaders (Herod). They had religious leaders (Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes). But they didn’t have shepherds. Which is to say, they didn’t have anyone who cared for them.

The truth is, people tend to want to know, What’s in it for me? How does this affect me? How is it relevant to me? You can call it selfish, or you can call it human nature. Jesus didn’t call it either of those things, though. He called it needing to be cared for.

People still have plenty of leaders. We call them politicians, CEOs, Directors, Pastors. Anybody can be a leader, but you can only start to teach the people you’re leading “all kinds of things” when you really care, not just about your goals for whatever movement you’re trying to lead, but for them.