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Shepherds or Servants?

| By PKD Lee |

Matt 20:25-28 - But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

The concept of the leader as shepherd is used often in the Bible. While God leading us as a shepherd leads sheep is acceptable, can this be a valid paradigm for men or women leading other people? Two to three thousand years ago, society was very vertical and elders were unquestionably obeyed. So, the shepherd leading the sheep seemed apt.

Today the situation is very different. People are seen as equal and every decision and request can be questioned. Democracy is taught in schools and mock parliament sessions held. So, the option of a shepherding leadership is just not there.

What about children? Can the concept of shepherds be applied to parents, teachers and those who manage children? I do not think so. People are not sheep, and they do not quietly follow the leader. This is true even of children. Hence, I believe, Jesus taught us that as a leader we need to be servants to those in our care. Yes, God leads us as a Shepherd, but we lead others as servants as Jesus outlined in Matt 20:24-28. The authoritarian style of parenting and leadership needs to be replaced by a servant form of leadership.

Does that mean we do not discipline our children? No, we do. But it is never in anger, but after discussing the issues with them and explaining why what they did or behaved is wrong and not acceptable.


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