Christ Is the Chief Shepherd {a devotional}

When the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 1 Peter 5:4.

A shepherd's life was one of diligence. He was obliged to watch his flocks day and night. Wild beasts were common, and often bold, and would do great injury to flocks of sheep and cattle that were not guarded by a faithful shepherd. Although Jacob had a number of servants to aid him in tending the flocks owned by himself and Laban, yet the responsibility of the whole matter rested upon him. And in some seasons of the year he was obliged to be with the flocks himself, day and night, to protect them in the driest season of the year, that they should not perish with thirst; and in the coldest part of the season, to save them from becoming chilled with the heavy night frosts. Their flocks were also in danger of being stolen by unprincipled shepherds, who wished to enrich themselves by stealing their neighbor's cattle.

A shepherd's life was one of constant care. He was not qualified for a shepherd unless he was merciful, and possessed courage and perseverance. Jacob was chief shepherd, and had shepherds under him who were termed servants. The chief shepherd called these servants, to whom he intrusted the care of the flock, to a strict account if they were not found in a flourishing condition. If there were any of the cattle missing, the chief shepherd suffered the loss.

The relation of Christ to His people is compared to a shepherd. He saw, after the Fall, His sheep in a pitiable condition exposed to sure destruction. He left the honors and glory of His Father's house to become a shepherd, to save the ... wandering sheep who were ready to perish. His winning voice was heard calling them to His fold, a safe and sure retreat from the hand of robbers; also a shelter from the scorching heat, and a protection from the chilling blasts. His care was continually exercised for the good of His sheep. He strengthened the weak, nourished the suffering, and gathered the lambs of the flock in His arms, and carried them in His bosom. His sheep love Him. He goeth before His sheep, and they hear His voice and follow Him. “And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” Christ says, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.” ...

Christ is the chief shepherd. He has intrusted the care of His flock to undershepherds. He requires these shepherds to have the same interest for His sheep which He has ever manifested, and to ever feel the responsibility of the charge He has intrusted to them.... If they imitate His self-denying example, the flock will prosper under their care.... They will be constantly laboring for the welfare of the flock. ~Lift Him Up, by E.G. White