Posted: October 27th, 2022
YesterdayFeb 2 at 6:27pm
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From theological and biblical standpoints, a Shepherd is one that has been appointed by God to lead His flock, in other words a Pastor.
The Pastor is appointed and anointed to lead the flock (people). It is the Pastor’s responsibility to break down or feed the Word of God to the people in a way they can understand and then apply it to their own lives. The Pastor also instructs the people in a way that builds them up to positions of leadership themselves. Ephesians 4:11 NKJV states,
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” A slave is one who has surrendered himself to the authority of another to be used for their purposes. We Christians are thought to be slaves of Christ because we have surrendered ourselves to be used for His purposes. Jesus bought us with His Blood. We are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves to righteousness. Based on the shepherd and slave motifs we’ve read about; the shepherd is the leader and slave the follower. The role of the leader is to empower the follower not only to perform the duties assigned them, but also gain knowledge and understanding to assume a leadership role in the future. The role of the follower is to take direction, correction, and motivation from the leader. The relationship between the two should be that of mutual respect, neither thinking more highly of themselves than they ought to but being confident in their respective roles.
YesterdayFeb 2 at 12:11pm
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The two biblical metaphors of the shepherd and the slave, although different regarding cultural context, share a common relational component. The shepherd and sheep as well as the master and slave operate within a symbiotic relationship. The identity of the follower is embedded in the persona of the leader. Harris (1999) explores this by stating that “we are in a symbiotic relationship with Christ, in which we are privileged to participate in his life, to be wholly dependent on him for our spiritual sustenance and wellbeing, and to be submissive to his will” (pp.152-153) As property, slaves have no personal identity. Their worth is determined by their master. In Rome, the status of a slave was influenced by the importance of the master. To be a slave in Caesar’s household was significantly more consequential. Unfortunately, even today many employees judge their own self-worth by the success of their employer. It is the responsibility of the leader to acknowledge the extent to which corporate identity impacts the self-worth of workers. Likewise, the challenge for the employed is to discern if an organization’s mission is compatible with personal values and beliefs. Laniak describes this symbiotic relationship within the context of the early church. “The influence of Isaiah’s Servant characterization on Peter’s understanding of Christ is noteworthy. The Servant was unique in his mission but was, in an important sense, the personification of the mission and ministry of the community” (p.230) Today, employees are asked to internalize mission. When an academic institution is evaluated for accreditation, one question asked of employees and students is can they articulate the mission. Appreciating the extent to which an individual is expected to conform to the guiding principles of the institution to which they belong is imperative. In Catholic organizations mission is often referred to as charism. This includes the underlying principles for operating such as mercy, respect, and stewardship. Furthermore, the charisma of a leader influences the follower. An employee would hopefully be influenced by a charismatic employer that exuded loyalty or fidelity. Organizations, although structurally inanimate are pervaded by these powerful spirits and psychological forces. Both the slave and shepherd motif acknowledged the extent to which the followers identity is determined by leaders. Consequently, it is the responsibility of the leader to not abuse this power. Laniak identifies this as a theme in 1Peter (p.233). Likewise, it is the duty of the follower to acknowledge the extent to which they have internalized any doctrine espoused by the leader. Honest and open dialogue would be essential in any organization. Additionally, evaluation plans that encourage reflection regarding mission would be important.
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