“Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them.” vs. 2
When Jeremiah uses the word “shepherd” he has in mind the kings of Judah, those who had responsibility for the welfare of the people. So when the “flock” was taken into exile he had no difficulty blaming the abysmal leadership provided by the royals. That same insight has applied ever since. Leaders of every kind have enormous responsibility for those who are their followers–and if leadership is flawed the people will suffer. We occasionally see this played out in our congregations when pastors (the word comes from the Latin for shepherd) are inattentive leaders, and the flock scatters. The effects can persist for years. We even see the same thing happen in the political world when leaders offer false or misleading information to those who are their followers. People will believe most anything in the heat of a campaign and when their shepherding leaders abandon truth-telling, the consequences are enormous. And it’s not just that occasional elections are lost, poor leadership will ultimately damage the entire nation. Anyone who aspires to be a leader, whether as a pastor or politician, should know that their shepherding responsibilities are from God, and must be accompanied by a humble and loving spirit–the very survival of their flock may depend on them.
Thought for the Day: What can happen with inattentive pastoral leaders?