Living near the ocean has surely been a time of refreshing providing many natural views to soak in God’s presence and marvel at His majesty.. Alongside with the ocean waves crashing on the rocks, the colourful hues splashed across the skies when the sun decides to hide from us just to appear on the other side of the earth, the clouds that take on unique shapes and formations insisting that they are far from boring.. appears the different types of birds in colours and hues and sizes.
Yesterday, standing on the balcony, I was gazing at a couple of birds which were too far away for me to recognise what they were. What caught my attention despite that was the bond that the two shared.. They were flying in close proximity to each other and time to time, one would take the lead with the second lagging. Yet the one taking the lead wouldn’t go too far away. It would automatically reduce its speed so that the other catches up with it. They were always in tandem. There was more gliding than flapping of the wings. It was a ‘romantic’ scene – well that’s how I saw it. I wondered if it was the male that was ‘leading’ and then slowing down to protect and guide the other.
As they moved out of sight, I walked into my bedroom. Sitting on my bed, I suddenly felt a desire to look through the window and not far away outside, at my eye level, I saw a pair of birds with the same graceful flight… but this time they were so close and fully visible revealing a pair of sea birds. The beaks were yellow resembling an egert however the tips of the wings were a silverish grey and the body was sleek. I was captivated and mesmerised by this sight, that my gaze was fixed on them that I couldn’t move to grab my camera. As they ascended to fly over the apartment building, going out of sight, I wished I could have taken a photo but knew I would have missed the moment if I had turned!
How beautiful it would be if we could follow the example of leadership from this duo – whether it be in the family (husband to wife, or parent to child), whether it be to a spiritual mentor to the one they are guiding, the pastor to the church member, whether it be a boss at work to the subordinates…
How lovely would it be if the two types of levels can operate in tandem.. the one in authority moving a little forward to show the way but slowing down so that the other can follow the example, take the route and catch up.. and the one leading not moving on too far so it can also protect the one following too!
Isn’t that how Jesus as the Shepherd is depicted? The shepherds in the Old Testament days wouldn’t drive the herd from behind like in other cultures. Instead, they lead the way and the herd follow.
Jesus says His sheep know HIS voice and follow Him.
The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” – John 10:1-4
Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and He has gone ahead leaving the Holy Spirit behind as our counsellor, guide and as one who illuminates God’s Word. The Holy Spirit leads us along the path so that we may fall in step with Jesus and be aligned to God’s will enjoying intimacy the Father. Yet never far ahead that we can’t fall into their embrace or that we are out of the protection of the Father!
The perfect leadership model – not authoritarian but one that leads, guides and protects.. not dominates but in close relationship at tandem!