Amos, wild animals, and accountability

Today’s blog post, like those on Mondays, comes from a book. The book I’ve chosen for today is titled Shepherd: Creating Caring Community

The excerpt I’ve taken from the book centers around the Old Testament character, Amos. Amos was a shepherd by trade. In Amos 3:12, we get a glimpse into the life of a shepherd, and the implications for us who lead Bible study groups. I hope you’ll enjoy this brief excerpt!

“The Lord says, ‘As the shepherd snatches two legs or a piece of an ear from the lion’s mouth, so the Israelites who live in Samaria will be rescued…” (Amos 3:12)…As I read this verse, I wondered, “Why would a shepherd bother to rescue pieces of an animal that had obviously become lunch for a predator?….But as I kept thinking about this, it became clear why a shepherd would risk life and limb: he  was a shepherd. He wasn’t the owner. He was a temporary custodian of his master’s sheep. It was his sworn duty to protect the sheep, and if a predator came around and killed one, the shepherd still had a master to whom he was accountable…As teaching shepherds, you and I are temporary stewards of  God’s people, His sheep…Shepherds cannot risk viewing sheep as “ours.” They are the Lord’s sheep. You and I are temporary stewards, who, like shepherds of old, are responsible to our Master. That’s a sobering thought.” (p.37)

How you view the people in your Bible study group is very important. It defines your  ministry to them as a teacher. I hope you are known for being a teaching-shepherding  leader! Here are the main differences in the way teachers and shepherds view their people:

  • Teachers view their group members as an audience to be played to; shepherds view them as a flock to be cared for.
  • Teachers view their group members as theirs; shepherds view their group members as His.
  • Teachers like being with the 99; shepherds go after the one.
  • Teachers like being up front; shepherds enjoy walking among.

If you’re going to lead a group, don’t just be a teacher…be a teacher-shepherd! For more on becoming a teacher-shepherd, pick up a copy of the book Shepherd: Creating Caring Community.


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