6. The Heart of the Shepherd

The Way of The Shepherd comes with a high price tag for the leader.  Your time, your commitment, your energy and your involvement.  It is not a set of management techniques but an outlook.  More than anything, the Way of the Shepherd is a lifestyle of leadership that places great value on the worth of the flock.  It will cost you to get your people out of trouble when they wander off.  It will cost you emotionally to wield the rod and sometimes to inflict pain on your people.  You’ll have to do thighs you won’t particularly feel like doing at the time.

Great leadership is hard work.  Those who do it well do so because they are willing to pay the price.  You need to know that going in.  If you are not willing to pay the price, your people will end up paying. Someone has to pay; it is just a matter of who will pay.  

A hireling is a person who tends the flock only because it’s a job.  The sheep mean nothing more to someone like that than an opportunity to get paid.  

What makes a shepherd a shepherd isn’t the staff or the rod; it is the heart.  What distinguishes a great leader from a mediocre one is that a great leader has a heart for his people.

How you view your people determines how you lead them.  If you don’t have a heart for your people, you will look at them differently than someone who does.  You will see them as expenses and interruptions, and you will never invest yourself in them as a shepherd would.  You will do just what that hireling did.  You will eventually count the cost as too high, focus on nothing but the work, and leave your people to fend for themselves.

The ultimate test of leadership isn’t setting a direction for your flock.  The ultimate test is that:  can you get your flock where you want it to go?

By being a good shepherd to my people, I show them that I’m worthy of being followed.

An excerpt from the Way of the Shepherd

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