Occasionally, John and I will head out for dinner. Often, the conversation goes something like this: Nita: “Honey, where would you like to go?” John: “I don’t know. I just want some good food!”
Now, because I have lived with John over 50 years, I know that usually means that he wants a well-seasoned steak and a baked potato with hot rolls. N0 – chicken is not on his mind….
All of this came to mind recently as I was reading in Acts 20. Paul stopped for a moment to encourage his leaders in Ephesus and spoke these words, “So guard your hearts. Be good shepherds over all the flock and feed them well.” (Acts 20:28)
Several things caught my attention. First, “Guard your hearts”. Whoever our flock is, we cannot lead them well if we are misdirected. Who have we been listening to? What have we been watching? Who have we been hanging around with?
It is our responsibility as a shepherd/leader (and we all are) to make sure we are guarding our heart by diligently selecting what we allow to influence us. This leads me to the second point I observed. We are to be good shepherds by feeding the flock well.
Just what does that mean? I think you are all aware that not everyone needs steak and potatoes!
One of our granddaughters recently got ill while visiting Texas. Unknown to us, her customary diet was veggies and fish. So after a few days indulging in TexMex – which she absolutely LOVED – her body rebelled. You see, we did not know her well. A good shepherd knows his flock and understands what is best for them. That which is good for some is not necessarily good for all!
Some of my team has the privilege of ministering weekly at the Lubbock County Detention Center. The food we feed many of them is Gospel truths broken down into bite-sized pieces presented in a way that is easy for them to relate and digest) However, when I am training ministry leaders, the food is presented much differently.
Just who is your flock? Have you ever really thought about that? Who is it that God has called you to shepherd? Is it your children; your co-workers; your friends? Or perhaps you are leading a home group. Have you gotten to know their individual needs? Are you diligently guarding your own heart so that you are prepared to feed them well – the food they are able to digest?
After all, have you ever considered that we are preparing the Bride of Christ?