"Shepherds Smell Like Sheep"
March 07, 2023 | By Chuck
“So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock” (I Peter 5:1-3). Peter is encouraging elders of the Lord’s church to fulfill their God-given responsibility to shepherd the flock. He also gives them instructions on how to carry out that task and the attitude they must have to do so. A godly leader leads the way God wants him to lead. According to Peter, a godly leader willingly shepherds his flock and not for personal gain. He also eagerly sets an example for his flock, rather than dominate them with demands and orders. Spiritually strong shepherds are a necessity in the church as they lead their flock to spiritual growth and ultimately, eternal life.
To adequately shepherd his flock, a shepherd must smell like his sheep. That may seem odd, but a shepherd in the field smells like his animals because he is constantly among them. It is no different for a shepherd of the Lord’s Church. One cannot shepherd his flock if he is not with his flock. When a shepherd spends time with his flock, he will smell like his flock. Shepherds of the Lord’s Church smell like their sheep because they are constantly with them in the trenches of church work. Shepherds of the Lord’s Church smell like their people because of the closeness of the relationships they develop and the hugs of support during difficult times.
The cattle farmer smells like cows. The cook and restaurant worker smells like the food they prepare and serve. Shepherds of the Lord’s Church should smell like their sheep because they spend so much time with them. A shepherd knows his sheep and their needs by being among them. The more he is with his sheep, the more he will smell like sheep.