Before jumping into the field of shepherding, one must also look at the price of vulnerability. People are looking for someone to mentor, disciple, lead them by example, thus allowing their life to be vulnerable. They do not want to follow a hypocrite. Ted Haggard’s fell hard and fast because he was not vulnerable. His image was the voice of evangelicalism, which high-ranking politicians sought, yet his life was a lie criticizing the homosexual and drug life and yet living secretly in that life. When he finally became vulnerable, only then could he move forward.
The twelve disciples walked with Jesus daily, and as their shepherd, he exposed all, warning them ahead of time of his impending crucifixion and trials. Can you imagine how the twelve felt when their leader who they thought would be their political Messiah fell, was arrested, beaten, crucified. What did the disciples do? Ran. “Run Forrest Run!” They scattered rather than gathered. They were depressed, forlorn, confused to the point that when the women told them about the resurrection they did not believe them until they personally investigated it. Their leader has fallen. What do you do with a fallen leader? Often the movement, cause, etc. collapses and dies if its leader falls, or out of the ashes of the leader’s falling comes a legacy stronger than when he was alive.
On the road to Emmaus, Jesus began teaching two of the believers the truth of the crucifixion and resurrection. Jesus kept His promise that unless he goes to the Father, the Holy Spirit could not be release to teach you “all things.”
When the smoked cleared, the vulnerability of Jesus shone in glory. The disciples discovered that he who had been found guilty was truly innocent. He that had no sin bore all the sins of the world as their sacrificial lamb. He that hung naked on the cross, beaten beyond recognition, was now clothed in glory. He that now went to sit beside the Father to intercede for the saints did not leave his believers as orphans, but released the Holy Spirit just as he promised.
A shepherd is human. We all fall at some time in our lives, because we wrestle against the flesh, our sin nature, all our lives. Often when shepherds have fallen in the Church, hurt prevails to those who elevated them. What a shepherd has to be is vulnerable, so that all that his sheep see is Jesus in his life, and if he falls, then the sheep will also learn about grace and mercy. If Jesus is central to a believer’s life, then he must be vulnerable, so that Jesus is exposed to others.
When you die and meet the lord, all will be exposed. You will be totally vulnerable before the Lord your maker. What will be exposed that day? Will it be those things hidden, or those things shining the glory of Jesus in your life.
Vulnerability, what a price!