I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:11
We can meditate a good long time on this verse. It strikes our hearts on numerous levels but I’d like to narrow this discussion down to those who have a pastoral calling. If we are following closely in our Master’s footsteps, our call also may be to lay down our lives for the sheep entrusted to us. The wolves can attack at any moment and our calling requires us to be a bulwark. Is your heart being shaped such that you can do this without hesitation?
Can you do it when you sense that not all of the sheep appreciate your willingness to do so? Will your heart be turned to a greater flock if your celebrity grows, taking your protective eye off of those whom God has placed under your care? Can you recover if the wolf somehow infiltrates your flock and scatters them despite your earnest intentions?
It’s one thing to say that you are prepared to do so, yet another to actually do it. We must be certain that our public and private heart are one and the same.