Leaders Devotion 5: Be On Guard
Paul delivered some sobering remarks to the Ephesian elders as he closed his sermon:
"Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! (Acts 20:28-31a).
Being appointed by the Spirit to be a shepherd of God's people is serious business and it is fraught with danger, for the temptations for leaders to care for themselves or to make themselves the center of attention are ever present. Paul warned that there would be attacks upon the flock from without and within and urged the elders to "keep watch" and "be on guard." They were to "be shepherds," and not those who do what they do for money or prestige for they were dealing with sheep purchased with the blood of Jesus.
Are you shepherding God's flock? Do you know the sheep? Are you keeping watch? Are you careful to lead the people to Jesus and not to yourself? Do you work at maintaining correct doctrine so you won't "distort" the truth? Perhaps you want to make this shepherd's prayer a part of your leadership arsenal of prayers:
Lord, I acknowledge that I didn't choose to lead, but was appointed by the Holy Spirit to be an overseer in the church of Jesus Christ. Help me to lead and care for the flock in a way that's pleasing to You. Remind me that it's not about me, but about the people. Keep me from any attitudes or practices that would cause me to neglect or abuse the sheep. Protect me from doctrinal weirdness or error, and give me discernment to recognize dangers for the flock (and myself) when they appear. I submit myself to Your oversight and the authority of Your word as I exercise oversight for others. Amen.