Any Time; Any Place
One of the greatest assets in being an effective shepherd is availability. To help someone grow, one needs to be available: to be there when needed no matter what time of day, to be a listening ear when it seems no one is listening, to have unconditional love when the conditions seem grave, and to have access to breaking through the screens that keep us separated.
In a day when “Caller I.D.” helps screen calls, it needs to be the key to availability. When the person you’re nurturing calls, you need to answer. To avoid control, a good shepherd knows when to give space and when to be near, when to lend a hand and when to allow one to be independent, when to encourage and when to be a straight shooter.
Sheep love to wonder and explore but need guidance. A shepherd cannot stand beside each sheep when many are wondering in different directions. Sheep love to graze; they are not force-fed. Sheep know their shepherd’s voice and know the tone of that voice.
Much goes into the art of shepherding for there are many demands, but the rewards can be eternal.