Shepherding

I have just finished reading, with benefit, Dusty Owens' article "The Work of Shepherding " (The Examiner, January 1989). I think the point needs to be made that those capable of shepherding cannot be effective in that role until they are recognized by the sheep as one who can lead them. Only when the sheep wants to be led by the shepherd (because of his wisdom, maturity, knowledge) can the shepherd be of benefit to the sheep. This is why, in the conventional sense, the "older person" cannot be "ordained" into that role. When the sheep recognizes the fitness of the "older person" to lead, that person may be of benefit to the sheep. This is the raison d'etre for the role, to benefit the sheep. "Little tin gods" cannot benefit the sheep, for they cannot by-pass their own self-importance and be humble enough to serve the sheep. Even the Lord Jesus said his purpose on earth was to serve; if the Master of the Universe was a servant, where does that put the rest of us? Dictatorial decisioneers are totally out of place in a properly functioning religious community, in which the strong are supposed to help the weak, the wise to help the unwise, that we all may grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This body is to build itself up in love by what each joint, muscle, and sinew supplies. No man or group of men can be in authority in such an arrangement, only the Head, which is Jesus Christ. - Gene Peacock