Jesus taught, “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.” (Matthew 7:15)
Worse than wolves disguised as sheep are the ones disguised as shepherds. Perhaps worse than this is when the ‘harmless sheep’ and the ‘wolf shepherd’ do not know the difference.
Very careful reading of the description of a shepherd in the Gospel of John 10 can help us make the distinctions:
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.” (Vs.11-16)
Any shepherd not trying to do these things is probably a false shepherd if not a vicious wolf. And remember a shepherd is not just ‘a pastor of a church’ but each of us shepherds our families, businesses, jobs and relationships.
“He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.” Jesus