MORNING MEDITATION

“Overseers And Not Masters!”

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“Overseers And Not Masters!”(I Pt. 5:1-5).
When I first read the novel, “Burning Grass” by Cyprian Ekwensi, I was not yet intelligently mature to appreciate the nomadic setting of the book (I understand that this was the second novel to be published in African Writers Series).
Being a herder or a shepherd is becoming a slave to the animals. The other day an in-law of mine who is a herder told me that he was already fed up with the tediousness of shepherding.
The main cause of the perennial tensions between farmers and graziers in the North West region of Cameroon is the carelessness and intentional wickedness of shepherds. These shepherds care for the flock but they intentionally lead the cattle to destroy the crops of farmers. Cattle are as important to the cattle owners as crops are important to the farmers.
Where farmers and graziers operate side by side there is always a transhumance corridor so that both can coexist amicably. But bad shepherds do not care.
There is no doubt that good shepherding is about supplying the needs of the cattle, making them lie down in green pastures and leading them besides quiet waters. But it also means protecting them from destroying the crops of farmers. A cattle risk being wounded or killed by an angry farmer whose crops have been destroyed.
Shepherding is a biblical metaphor for whoever has leadership responsibilities – irrespective of the hierarchical level at which one belongs.
In human shepherding today careless shepherds who do not keep their eyes on the flock accuse others of sheepstealing. This however is only partially true. If you are careless on the care of your flock, do not blame the wild animal that attacks them.
On the other hand, you cannot claim to be good at catching fish when you cast your nets only in other people’s fishponds!
That notwithstanding, despite all the efforts of the good shepherd you will always have recalcitrant cattle that defy all the care and guidance of the shepherd.
Peter an apostle of the risen Lord, whom the Lord asked three times whether he loved him, also told him, “Feed my lambs.” “Take care of my sheep.” “Feed my sheep.”(Jn. 21:15-19).
This same Peter who was a witness of Christ’s sufferings and was convinced that he will also share in the glory to be revealed had this advice to today’s leaders – especially of the ecclesiastical corps, – “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples of the flock…”
It is rewarding when you offer such sacrificial service, doing your work as serving the Lord and not men. “When the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that never fades away.”
These days, the arrogance of the young towards the old is appalling! Peter tells young leaders to “be submissive to those who are older” and to clothe self with humility to one another; because “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
My dear friend, for an honest autocritique, grade yourself to see if you are a shepherd according to Peter’s expectations.improve where you lag behind.
Sunday prayer: Holy Spirit help me daily to be a shepherd agreeable to the LORD. Amen!
Have a blessed Sunday! Peace be with you!
Rev Babila Fochang.

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