Jesus sometimes referred to people as “sheep”.
I don’t think he meant that as a compliment.
I believe he was trying to teach us an uncomfortable truth about human nature.
I believe he was giving us some training on leadership.
Sheep are not smart. They often don’t know what’s best for themselves. They become even dumber and MORE in need of help as a herd.
Herd mentality is a real thing. Look around you right now, wherever you are at: at home with the kids, at the office, on the highway, or on TV: the collective dumbing down of the group is a real thing.
An even more pernicious problem is that a leader typically does emerge from the unattended herd, and it’s often someone who is motivated by greed, anger, or some other lust for control.
Being a good shepherd isn’t for everyone. It requires that you are able to:
a) communicate with clarity, purpose, and consistency where the group needs to be led
b) be realistic about their need for leadership, coming from a place of compassion, rather than your own personal need to exert control
This is no easy task, but it’s what must happen.
We are all shepherds.
Take account of your herd today.
Lead them with compassionate understanding of their weaknesses.
Lead them with simple clarity of purpose.
Some day, they too will become shepherds – it’s your example of leadership that they will repeat.
Make it great.
Thomas S Monson said:
“A few months ago in Munich, Germany, I saw a true shepherd. There he was with staff in hand, singing, walking in front of his flock; and the flock followed behind him. When he turned to the left, the sheep turned to the left; when he went to the right, they went to the right. There were no dogs barking at the heels of his sheep. They indeed knew their shepherd and were following the pathway he took.” (Pathways to Perfection, p. 93.)
John 10:25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.
26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (New Testament, John, John 10)
Notice how the lord refers to his sheep as those that follow him? The sheep can recognize their true shepherds voice from strangers. They won’t follow a stranger.
In modern revelation the Lord also calls those who hear his voice “the elect”
D&C 29:7 And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts; (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, D&C 29)
Im proud to be one of Christs sheep.