Depending On The Changing or The Unchanging? | Word from the Shepherd No. 138 | 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time B

16th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B
Jer.23:1-6; Eph.2:13-18; Mk.6:30-34

A visitor to the place initiated a chat with a shepherd whom he met during his hike.
Traveller: What kind of weather are we going to have today?
Shepherd: The kind of weather I like.
Traveler: How do you know it will be the kind of weather you like?
Shepherd: Having found out, sir, I cannot always get what I like, I have learned always to like what I get. So I am quite sure we will have the kind of weather I like.

Our daily lives can depend on the changing weather or depend on the unchangeable.
Most of us have many types of crutches or dependencies. They take many forms ie. from pleasures to power, from church or political leadership, or from family to friends. After a time, we realise that they can disappoint us, betray us, or let us down. We realise that ‘these dependencies cannot be depended upon’. Jeremiah spoke about this, the unreliable and undependable shepherds of Israel, who neglected, destroyed and scattered the sheep in their care.

But today the institutions, religious, economic and political, are a great disappointment.
The privileged class reap the benefit. The system favours class, caste, race or religious affiliations.. The ordinary, the people at the fringe and the voiceless are the poor or made poor. In Jeremiah’s and Jesus’ time, three institutions, the priests, the prophets and kings had failed. What prevailed was the time of false prophets, career prophets; and was followed by a prophet-less time; and finally, God began to shepherd His own.

God began to shepherd His own, through Jesus, the reliable and dependable.
He came with a shepherd’s heart, welcoming, protecting, encouraging and including them to Himself and the community. The suffering were no distractions nor an intrusion. For Him, they were “sheep without a shepherd “. When there are no guides to show the way, no prophets to proclaim God’s word, the simple, the good and the quiet have no voice and have no influence.

Are we a victim of changing weather or do we remain strong like the earth unchanging,
becoming beautiful?
As state leaders, clergy or bishops, on what do we depend on? The unchanging makes us reliable and dependable, transforming us into shepherds with a heart, shepherds of God. People are looking for Shepherd Leaders, which is beyond servant leadership:

  1. They invest their heart and passion into those that they lead, reflected through their encouragement, their prayers and their joy.
  2. They are visionary, with a vision for the future and move towards to it.
  3. They are relational, they see the other as “image of God” and do not view others as employees, servants or objects.
  4. They are sacrificial for the welfare of his sheep.
  5. They rely on the unchangeable – their call, their heart and their mission, and adapt to the changing.

Nelson Mandela once said : “A leader is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, realising that all along they are being directed from behind”.

We are leaders to those in our care whether in the family, workplace or church.Be dependable by depending on the unchangeable within and the unchangeable Lord, who has planted us where we are.