When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. John 10:4
Have you ever worked under an umbrella of authority that was characterized by defective leadership? Orders were given without care for proper development. There was little instruction. There were high expectations but perhaps you were abandoned while you labored at the task.
When I was twenty-one, I was asked to orchestrate an entire musical road production. I expressed my concern that I wasn’t trained nor experienced. I was a pianist, flutist, and vocal arranger. But, having trouble saying no, I buckled under the pressure to just do it anyway. A deadline was given but no offers were made to network me with professionals who might help me through the process. I read some articles by Henry Mancini, saw a few of his scores, ordered orchestral score paper from a music house in New York City, and dove in the deep end of the pool. Six weeks later, I was standing in front of some Chicago symphony players at a studio in Chicago. Baton in hand, shaking, I heard the scores come to life. Regardless of whether or not it was successful, I was pretty traumatized by it all. The leadership style of the person who delegated the task to me was poor.
What kind of leader is Jesus? He describes himself as the shepherd who goes before his sheep. This was not the way shepherds usually did their job. They were known to drive out the sheep from the pen. They were sent out in front. Not Jesus. He goes before. He’s already checked the path for stones, tree roots, and wild beasts. He marks the way and is known to say, “Don’t step here or you’ll get hurt.” Or “Watch me; I’ll show you how to do it.” There’s security and safety for all who follow him. I have to remember that the disciples were discipled by Jesus the shepherd. They didn’t just follow, they learned. Everything he did, they did. So, when he left them, they knew what to do on their own.
You’ve shown me how to follow you, Lord. Make me a considerate leader like that. Amen