READING: Zechariah 7-14, Revelation 21
By virtue of my calling (and, I trust, my experience), I understand that I’m to lead God’s people in some way. That way is not currently as a senior pastor, though I do serve as one of the elders at our church. It is more as a seminary dean and missions team leader who’s blessed to walk beside and encourage some of the most gifted people I’ve ever met. I’m continually amazed that God allows me to lead at all.
On the other hand, readings like today’s Old Testament text remind me that leadership among God’s people carries great responsibility, accountability, and judgment. Using the term “shepherds” to refer to leaders, God spoke forcefully about their failures in Zechariah’s day: “Therefore the people wander like sheep; they suffer affliction because there is no shepherd. My anger burns against the shepherds, so I will punish the leaders” (Zech 10:2-3). The leaders had been spiritually neglectful, if not oppressive, toward the people, and God would bring judgment on them in turn. He would not tolerate shepherds who did not care for the sheep, but He would bring forth the One who would indeed be the Good Shepherd.
The political leaders of the Old Testament and the spiritual leaders of God’s church in the New Testament are not synonymous roles, but the weightiness of their tasks is similar. We who seek to lead others well must first be good sheep in the fold of the perfect Shepherd.
PRAYER: “Lord, grant me grace to be a faithful sheep and a strong under-shepherd.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Malachi 1-4, Revelation 22