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Dear COA Family,

Who is a truly good shepherd?

Is he the wisest, the most energetic or the most charismatic person around? No, it is none of them.

Rather, a good shepherd is the one who will care enough to sacrifice his rights, benefits and even reputation to do what is best for those he is caring for.

Jesus says in John 10:11-13:
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

Why am I sharing this with all of you?

It is because we as sheep are sometimes so easily deceived that we do not recognise who our true shepherds are. We think that the person who speaks the smoothest words, who promises the greatest rewards or seems the most gifted or talented would be the one. Jesus had to come and tell us how to specifically recognise a good shepherd – he is the one who lays down his life for you! So, don’t be swayed by someone who appears impressive and comes with great credentials but observe his behaviour and lifestyle carefully to see who he is ultimately serving.

Yet the more important reason for sharing this lesson is to remind us to care for others authentically.

It is only by caring for others sacrificially will we truly be shepherding others and following the example of our Lord Jesus. God has placed all of us as shepherds in some capacity, whether it is as a cell or ministry leader, a leader of a small discipleship group, a parent or even a good friend to another. Unless you are just a young child, you are not exempted from the ministry of shepherding.

So, look out for the interests of others and don’t quit when the going gets tough. Difficulties and obstacles are tests of whether your motivation is true and they ought to make you more determined to serve and not give up. Be a good shepherd to others as Christ is the Good Shepherd to you!

God bless,
Revd Ian