FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
TENDING THE FLOCK – 3
May 20, 2015
Today’s reading: Acts 20:28-38
The task of a servant leader is very important for the life of the Christian community. As such, it is a task not to be taken lightly. It is a charge and a responsibility given by God Himself, to accomplish God’s purposes.
As such, a servant leader starts with looking to himself and the state of his spiritual health. “Keep watch over yourselves” (v.28a). At times we might be so zealous as to caring for the flock, but neglect our own spiritual lives. We might spend so much time attending to the needs of others, but not give enough time to prayer and the Bible. Know that the enemy seeks to bring down leaders, because in being able to do so, the enemy brings down many others who look up to the leader.
A servant leader, in securing himself, must have no agenda or priority other than the Lord’s. He certainly must not be in the service for personal gain, whether money or power or prestige. “I have never wanted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing.” (v.33). He is there not to be served but to serve, not to receive but to give (though he receives much grace and blessings from God). He knows the truth that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (v.35c).
Having secured the “home front,” a servant leader now is to keep watch “over the whole flock of which the holy Spirit has appointed you overseers” (28b). He keeps watch over those entrusted in his care, whether just a household or a whole district or a whole nation. He is to oversee or supervise how people’s lives in Christ are going.
The servant leader keeps watch over the flock of God, the sheep that belong to God. He is to “tend the church of God” (v.28c). He is appointed to stand in the place of God, to give the care that God would give His people. That is quite a charge. This is especially considering what it cost God to gather His flock to Himself, “that he acquired with his own blood.” (v.28d). Now what is the extent to which we are to serve God’s flock? Well, if Jesus gave his blood and his life, we too, in following in the footsteps of our Master, are to give our all in tending to his flock.
In watching over the flock, the servant leader must realize that the enemy will never rest in trying to wrest God’s flock away, especially when they were already at some time under his dominion. Thus “savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock.” (v.29). These wolves will be savage, seeking to devour. They will seek to kill the life of the Spirit that is in people.
Unfortunately, there is also the enemy within. “And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciple away after them.” (v.30). There are the modernists within our church, turning the truth on its head, where good is now bad and bad is good. There are the dissidents within the community, who will insist on veering away from the authentic charism, life and mission. There are those lounging in the Country Club, discouraging brethren from aggressively pursuing a massive evangelization. All these draw the flock away from authentic discipleship and into a life more conformed to the world.
And so the enemy is all over, without and within. It can even be ourselves, as we slacken in our pursuit of holiness and Christian perfection. Wolves are prowling outside and inside the sheepfold. “So be vigilant” (v.31a).
Finally, the servant leader must keep those under his charge in prayer. “And now I commend you to God and to that gracious word of his that can build you up and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated.” (v.32). He must intercede for them. He must bring before the Lord those negative aspects of their lives that they themselves might not be seeing. Then he must also be bold enough to directly guide, admonish and counsel them regarding their areas of needed growth. It might take a long time and require perseverance. Like Paul, “for three years, night and day, I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears.” (v.31b). We give our very heart to the work.
God’s flock, those who are consecrated to Him, have an inheritance from their Father. It is the task of servant leaders to help them fully acquire it.
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