but being examples to the flock.
I have heard it said that it is a tradition in firefighting that the captain is always the first in and the last out of any fire. This put to the extreme the truth that “You can’t teach what you don’t know, you can’t lead where you won’t go.” Pastors need to have this spirit as well. They aren’t just to drop in to preach and then disappear in a cloud of dust. They must be: First In and Last Out. There to open the doors and set up tables and there to wash the dishes and turn out the lights. He needs to model the servant behavior that he wants to see in others.
To lead his sheep, a good shepherd does, of course, have to be out in front of them… but as an example of the flock he also has to stay close enough that they can actually see him.
There are new cadets in Nashville training to become firefighters. My friend Rick, in his 30’s, is one of the oldest recruits. As a part of their daily PT they have to run as a group up the stairs of a tower. One of the ladies females remarked to him one day… I want to follow you up the tower. She didn’t mean to imply he was slow… she just knew he would go at a reasonable pace. She didn’t want to be stuck behind a 22 year old that would sprint up the stairs leaving her in the dust… in an attempt to stand out from the rest of the recruits.
That is a healthy reminder for sherpherds. In attempt to maintain a facade or super spirituality are we running too far ahead of the flock?. Remaining aloof from those you lead doesn’t allow them to follow your example. Remember: First in, Last Out. And don’t leave your flock in the dust!