This weekly is dedicated to Arthur Daniel David Silva Gould, born the 6th of June 2015, son of Suzy and David, grandson of the author!
What does your job title say about you? Some titles contain very little information, others are more revealing. Job descriptions can be implicit in job names while at other times no further information is contained in the name.
It is a curious fact that the Son of Man was connected to the carpentry business. Even then, to call someone a carpenter could mean general laborer or master craftsman with various shades in between.
The curiosity, however, is that in the first century world fisherman, farmers and shepherds would be more familiar to the population than carpenters. Indeed, when the Son of Man illustrated his messages he uses many pictures from those trades.
This tells you that when Jesus adopted the job title, ‘Shepherd’ he was wanting the adoption process itself to make you think. Why not just be a shepherd as was Moses, David and other large figures in his heritage?
I am going to suggest a profound principle is enclosed within the crossover that the Son of Man makes from carpenter to shepherd.
You have already seen that Jesus calls himself THE GOOD SHEPHERD and in so doing makes himself equal with the Divine. He has a job title but adopts a God-title. Everywhere else when he comes out with an ‘I AM’ saying it is much more a metaphor, an idea or a concept. Here it is a well known job title.
Could it be that Jesus is revealing to you that whatever your job title you need to adopt a god-title?
Normally at this point I might say that this means that you should somehow see your work as being done for the Lord (an IT programmer for God or a nurse for the Lord).
But that could well be to miss the point. I don’t think that the Son of Man is saying find your equivalent god-title for your job. I am going to suggest to you that he is revealing to you that whatever your job title there is a transcendent, over-arching, spiritual dynamic which will inform the way you do any job.
That dynamic is shepherding. Look at Jesus’ main reference to his own carpentry history. He says, “My yoke is easy”. He produced yokes in a caring way which made life easier for the ox. In other words he took a shepherdly, caring, pastoring approach even in his carpentry.
The Son of Man made a unique claim to be THE GOOD SHEPHERD, making himself for the Divine. Yet at the same time he’s inviting you to do your work in a shepherdly way and thus adopt godly methods.
So are you a manager? Do it in a protective, caring, nurturing way. Are you a car mechanic? Care for your customers, clients and even competitors. Are you are teacher, a medic, a programmer or a business person? You can handle your job using shepherd characteristics and it will transform your approach.
When the Son of Man, carpenter by background, changed career and became a teacher I would suggest he always functioned as a shepherd. Even as an older brother, a business man and leader of a movement he showed his shepherd consciousness continuously.
The Son of Man has given you not just one example but a generic model of what it means to work in harmony with God.
To test this out ask yourself how your job would be impacted if you adopted a shepherd like approach to each task. How would your treatment of people change if you had a profound consciousness of shepherding, caring and protective?
We will spell-out the characteristics of this ‘Shepherdology’ next time.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.
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