SHEPHERD OR BUTCHER

A pastor was taking pilgrims on a tour of the Holy Land. He had just read them the parable of the good shepherd and was explaining to them that, as they continued their tour, they would see shepherds on the hillsides just as in Jesus’ day. He wanted to impress the group, so he told them what every good pastor tells his people about shepherds.

He described how, in the Holy Land, shepherds always lead their sheep, always walking in front to face dangers, always protecting the sheep by going ahead of them. He barely got the last word out when, sure enough, they rounded a corner and saw a man and his sheep on the hillside.

There was only one problem: the man wasn’t leading the sheep as the good pastor had said. No, he was behind the sheep and seemed to be chasing them, throwing stones at them, and whacking them with a stick.

The pastor turned red. Flabbergasted, he ran over to the fence and said, “I always thought shepherds in this region led their sheep — out in front. And I told my people that a good shepherd never chases his sheep.” The man replied, “That’s absolutely true… you’re absolutely right … but I’m not the shepherd, I’m the butcher!”

Source | Based on Lynn Anderson,
They Smell Like Sheep: Spiritual Leadership for the 21st Century
(Howard Books, 2002) pages 29-30

CONSIDER THIS

On some levels we are all leaders in life. Some lead with a title and many lead without a title. Whatever the case may be, ask: when it comes to leadership, what is my basic attitude? Is it that of the shepherd who leads lovingly or that of the butcher who chases, drives and forces?

Is my leadership such that it leads to violence, “butchering” potential and possibility along the way, or is it of the non-violent type, always seeking the good of the other, encouraging and affirming?

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Author: philipchircop

I'm a Jesuit from Malta, an artist at heart and madly in love with all things beautiful and soulful: music, painting, sculpture, photography, film, theatre, poetry, good company, good food, good wine and more. I believe that beauty is a wonderful entry into the mystery of the God “whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.” God can be sensed in all things if and when we engage in a long, loving look at the real that surrounds us. I consider myself a seeker with bottomless curiosity, an eternal student of life, exploring fresh and creative ways to proclaim the Good News in the hope of helping fellow pilgrims and seekers to embrace real and radical changes that will lead to conversion and transformation.

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