Character of Christmas: Shepherds
Shepherds were in the fields doing what shepherds do, tending their sheep. They probably had a long day and were settling in with the darkened sky as their blanket for a restful uneventful evening of sleep. And then to the surprise and wonder of everyone in the field they were surrounded by a host of angelic beings giving praise to God and announcing wonderful news! Here’s their story:
8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them. Luke 2:8-20 NASB
The shepherds display many admirable qualities but the one I’d like to focus on today is leadership. The character quality of leadership shown through these shepherds is something we can all learn from and incorporate in our daily lives.
Leadership is Faithful.
These shepherds were not out looking for the next great thing, they were simply doing what they were called and gifted to do. They were tending their own sheep. Sometimes in our Christian circles we get too focused on trying to tend to “other flocks” that we can lose sight of the sheep God has entrusted to our care. The leadership I see in these shepherds reminds me that I simply need to be doing what God has called me to do and as I do that, God will show up and reveal what He wants me to do next. I don’t have to “go looking” for what’s “next” as much as I need to be faithful with what I have “now”. There is much to be said about faithfulness in our society. Suffice it to say that as a character quality, we all need to strive to be faithful in the mundane as well as the exciting! Perhaps the greatest test in faithfulness is monotony?
Leadership is Focused.
Once these shepherds heard God’s message from these angelic messengers they didn’t question. They encouraged and acted. They went straight to where they were supposed to go. If there’s anything that defines many of our leaders today it’s “multi-”anything. We pride ourselves in being multi-taskers to multi-dimensional. This is certainly a talent leaders can and need to develop. However, many leaders suffer from doing too much that is not directly related to getting them or their people to the desired goal. These shepherds knew exactly where they needed to go and they got going! As a leader, it’s essential that people know where you are going, how you plan to get there and they get the sense that you are going soon! These men wasted no time in making their decision nor did they waste time in their action on the decision. That’s leadership: focused decisions with deliberate actions.
Leadership is Fast.
The passage says they came in a hurry. Leaders must have a sense of timing and an understanding that life is time sensitive. A leader must discern how quickly to move from place to another, from one issue to the next. The leader must realize that time is passing quickly and compel others to move along to where Christ is fast. In matters of eternity, time is escaping at a speed faster than any of us would like to admit. Not only must leaders act quick but all people. The message of Christ has been given and we are all compelled to come and worship! It’s time for everyone to take charge of their own lives and act fast in worship and glorifying God. There’s no greater time than this season of Christmas to take the lead of your own life.