Where we used to live, there was a sheep farmer down the road who needed some extra pasture for his 120 sheep to graze. We set a morning to help him herd his sheep up the road to our pasture. The image above is a photo from that actual morning.
What an experience! He had a specially trained dog that he yelled commands to in Gaelic or something! We stopped traffic as we tried to get all the sheep moving along onto our property. None of them wanted to go anywhere that you wanted them go unless they were truly forced to go there. In fact, I got the picture that if it somehow dawned on them that you wanted them to go to a certain place, they would make sure they went anywhere except there. They jumped fences onto other people’s property, they got into thicket, they were in and around the traffic, it was pretty much chaos. Nevertheless, we finally got all of the sheep by one way or another off the road and onto our property.
The problem is, once there, we wanted them to go into a certain section of our pasture, which had water and was fenced in particularly for them. I remember seeing them all gathered together, refusing as one to go into that area. None of them would go.
Finally, the shepherd took one of the rams that was kind of a leader, and pushed him over and grabbed him by the legs. You would never have noticed this particular sheep was a leader because they were all just randomly milling around, but the shepherd knew that this sheep had some kind of influence. Then he carried him over, swung him around, and threw him bodily into the pasture. I have to admit, I was a bit shocked by the action. The ram kind of sat up, stood, shook his head, looked around, and started grazing. The other sheep started filing in after him.
That, my friends, is how Christian leadership works.
“So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He *said to him, “Tend My lambs.” He *said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He *said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” He *said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus *said to him, “Tend My sheep. “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself, and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.”” John 21:15-18, NASB.
Peter was, in fact, that recalcitrant lead ram who had to be forced into leadership. None of us are led anywhere by anyone at God’s behest except that God leads them despite themselves.
Great point. I don’t know how many times I have thought, ‘I’ll just throw this ministry thing in; it’s too hard.’ but then it’s impossible because of the insatiable call of God, and the knowledge that to deny that calling would be in some sense to deny what God has made me in Christ.