#shepherds #GoodShepherd #ServantLeaders
In the Christmas story, the angels heralded the birth of Jesus first to shepherds.
Why shepherds, rather than more important people of the time?
Kyle Wingfield, columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, tackled this matter in his Christmas Day column of 2016.
As Wingfield puts it, shepherding was among the dirty jobs of the era, done by men of the humblest and lowliest stations in life.
But it’s so appropriate that shepherds were the first to know. Moses and David were shepherds before they became biblical heroes, Wingfield writes.
And, more importantly, the double symbolism in the story is that Jesus called himself “the Good Shepherd.” He came from humble beginnings, and circulated among, and died for, the humblest among us. As Wingfield put it, he was the ultimate example of a sacrificial leader. The ultimate shepherd.
Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, the story offers an example for all of us. Real leaders first are servants. They jump into the dirtiest of tasks if they need to. They don’t ask of others what they would not do themselves.
Most of us would strive to be servant leaders. Servant leaders look not at what’s in it for themselves, but they look first at what they can do to help others succeed.
If they do that, then success usually finds them.
Perhaps you think that your current position does not allow you to be a servant leader. Instead, your position makes you be more like, well, just a servant.
But one can be a leader, while being a servant. He or she can set the example for those around them. He or she can show others how to be a good person, or, as it were, a good shepherd. Remember, as Wingfield writes, that shepherding was a pretty lowly job back in the day.
Then, there are those who seek to do more with their lives. They want to step up from what they are doing now, and be a shepherd in a new way – one that could have even more impact on others’ lives. Perhaps they want to help others succeed in a way that they, or those whom they help, would have never dreamed of.
If that describes you, there are many ways out there for you to step out, and step up, that you might not have thought about. To learn about one of the best ways to do that, message me.
Meanwhile, by extending a helping hand in your life as it is now, you will be on your way to becoming a good shepherd.
“We don’t like to think of ourselves as sheep,” Wingfield writes. “It’s something of a slur among those who reject (the elites). But we are all in need of shepherds. Good ones. The kind who set aside pride and self-interest to put others first,” Wingfield writes.
In short, be a good shepherd in your own way. Never forget that serving is leading. Never condemn your station in life. Instead, work to improve it if you must. Don’t let the naysayers and fear mongers bring you down.
For in this season, and all others, there is so much joy to be shared.


It’s normal for a pope to re-enact the scene of Jesus washing the feet of those he serves.
Pope Francis took a different tack this year during Holy Week. He washed the feet of inmates.
The new pope is going out of his way to show humility.
He is shunning the trappings of Vatican life, i.e. gold crosses and riding in the “Pope mobile.”
He is showing servant leadership in a big way, just as Christ did in his time.
More of today’s leaders need to SERVE those they lead. They need to have the three main ingredients to good leadership: humility, integrity and generosity.
They don’t necessarily have to wash the feet of those who work with them. But their goals should be in line with the goals of those they lead. Anyone can give orders. Anyone can tell someone else that they don’t like something they did. But if they can’t HELP the person achieve what is necessary for THAT PERSON’S success, they just become people with power over others.
Power and leadership are not the same. Leaders may know what power they have, but rarely, if ever, exercise it. They feel their job is to help people realize their own potential. They believe their goals should not be self-centered, for they know their success will occur if they just help others succeed.
Leaders also know the difference between authority and influence. One’s authority can influence others, but others just feel compelled to follow. When one has influence, others WILLINGLY follow him and his advice. True leaders lead by example, not by order.
The pope is not just a religious leader. He is the equivalent of a head of state. Pope Francis prefers to be recognized as the archbishop of Rome, not as a “head of state.” He believes his job is to serve the poorest of the poor, not have the poor serve him.
One need not be a Catholic to admire the shining example the new pope is showing not only to the public in general, but also to other leaders. Those who aspire to be leaders need to look at his example, not the example of those whose goals are self-centered.
True respect is never commanded. One should never expect respect. One must always do things that earn respect. Of course, one must carry on whether or not he gets respect from everyone. There will always be people who will never respect you. But true leaders set a path of service, without regard of self, or popular opinion. They work to help others. Then, as the world goes, good things come to them.
Leadership is attitude. True leaders may have aspired to be such, but, once in the position, never presume reward. They create self-reward by helping others. Deeds rule. Words – inspiring words – are just a tool.

If you aspire to leadership, ask yourself whether you want to be more like Pope Francis, or more like, say, a corporate titan consumed only by his own bottom line. Are you happiest when helping others, or when others are helping you, while under your duress?
If you aspire to be a servant leader, yet don’t know how best to go about it, visit That may provide the vehicle that will help you help the most people in the biggest way.
Of course, leadership is daily action. Are you doing all that you do sincerely, thinking of others first? If not, try it. You may find it refreshingly rewarding. When others around you succeed, you will succeed too. The more you help them, the more they will succeed. The more they succeed, the more rewards will come your way.