Summary: David reflected God’s own heart as He faithfully tended his sheep, as well as when he later was the shepherd king over Judah and Israel. We need a shepherd’s heart to help us care for the people God brings into our lives.
THE HEART OF A SHEPHERD
INTRO: Have you ever thought about what David’s life must have been like as a shepherd? He did not show up for work at 9 am. and go home at 5. He actually lived out in the fields or hills with the sheep. My understanding is that they did not do this year round because it would be far too cold in the winter. That is one reason scholars believe that the birth of Christ actually took place sometime in the fall. But David likely had to deal with rainstorms and heat and chilly nights. Imagine, one night David counts his sheep and makes sure that Snowball and Fluffy are near him. As he snuggles down next to them he prays to God for protection for himself and for his flock. He strums his harp for a while, and soon falls into a peaceful sleep. What seems like hours later, David is suddenly awakened by a ferocious growl. A hungry lion is crouching nearby, preparing to pounce on Snowball. David leaps to his feet just as the lion lunges at Snowball, and catching the lion by the throat, he proceeds to tear it apart. When it is all over, David stands there trembling from the trauma of the fight. He remembers hearing his father tell a story about a man named Samson, who also killed a lion with his bare hands. Then he thanks the LORD for giving him the strength to defeat his enemy and protect his sheep.
This little amplified story gives us a picture of the heart of a shepherd. David was known as a man after God’s own heart. David reflected God’s own heart as He faithfully tended his sheep, as well as when he later was the shepherd king over Judah and Israel. I’ve used David as an example of one who had a shepherd’s heart this morning because there are still those today whom God has given the heart of a shepherd. Let’s look at what Peter has to say about a shepherd’s heart in our text.
TEXT: KJV 1 Peter 5:1-11 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
PROP: We need a shepherd’s heart to help us care for the people God brings into our lives.
INTERR: How does a shepherd’s heart help us to help others?
TRANS: Our text gives us several insights into the heart of a shepherd. As we will see, the heart of a shepherd comes from the heart of the Great Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
Many of you already have the heart of a shepherd, whether you would call it that or not. I am going to focus on this passage from a shepherd’s point of view. The Lord cares for His sheep. We are all sheep and we all need His care, but God also wants us to keep watch over his flocks as we serve Him. God wants to help us do just that.
I. A Shepherd’s Calling (vv. 2, 3)
-Maybe you remember when you were first called to do something for the Lord. Those are precious memories – early times with the Great Shepherd. Perhaps your calling was similar to Peter’s exhortation to his readers:
a. Feed the flock (v. 2) – preaching, teaching, discipling, worshiping
b. Oversee the flock (v. 2) – lead, protect, give direction and counsel
c. Be an example to the flock (v. 3) – a picture is worth 1000 words