Bernard Osborne, Dinas Powys, Wales [SEE PROFILE BELOW]

Category: Exposition

Precious Seed

After the foot and mouth epidemic of 2001 in some parts of the UK where sheep once abounded there existed a strange silence. No bleating. Foot and mouth has taken its dreadful toll. The shepherds had no sheep to care for. A sad picture indeed!

Remember what the Lord Jesus told Peter, ‘Feed my lambs, feed my sheep, tend my sheep’, John 21. 15-17. Someone has well said that if we do not feed our lambs we shall have no sheep to feed later on. The true shepherd is concerned about the lambs as well as the sheep. It must be so for all who seek to walk in the steps of the Great Shepherd of the sheep. When God is portrayed as the Shepherd, what does He do? ‘He shall feed His flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs with His arm and carry them in His bosom and shall gently lead those that are with young’, Isa. 40. 11 What a lovely picture of the truest of shepherd hearts!

God’s greatest men have been great shepherds. The leader who led two million people for nearly forty years through a wilderness was a shepherd. When this leader was called by God, he was keeping the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, Exod. 3. 1. Israel’s greatest king was a shepherd, concerning whom the Lord said, ‘I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel’, 2 Sam. 7. 8.

God’s leaders are pre-eminently shepherds. So it is in a local church, and it is the Holy Spirit who makes them such, Acts 20. 28. There must also be a personal exercise, 1 Tim. 3. l. There is always a plurality of elders or shepherds, Acts 20. 17, Phil. 1. 1. Bishops or overseers and elders are the same people, note Titus 1. 5, 7.

How are they recognized by the flock? By their character and their work. Note it is not simply by their work. When Paul describes the qualifications of elders almost all of them have to do with character, note 1 Tim. 3. 1-7, Titus 1. 5-9. These scriptures are there for our guidance and ought to be read and followed.

Their work is described in other passages for example, Acts 20. 28; 1 Thess. 5. 12-13, Heb.13. 7, 17; and 1 Pet. 5. 2-3. The emphasis is firstly on the shepherds’ character. They do the work because they possess the Godbuilt character to do it. They do a shepherding work because they have a shepherd’s heart, not simply because they want leadership recognition.

Note the priority given by Paul in Acts 20. 28 the shepherd is to take heed to himself, and then to the flock. He must be right himself. Lovely is the picture of the Eastern shepherd found within the scriptures, who knows his sheep by name, for he has an interest in them as individuals, John 10. 3; who tenderly cares for them, carrying the lambs in his bosom, leading those who are with young, Isa. 40. 11; who feeds them in green pastures, leading them by the still waters, Ps. 23. 2; who protects them from those dangers that threaten the flock, so that the lion and the bear are dealt with, 1 Sam. 17. 34-36; and who sees the wolf coming and instead of saving himself stands in the way to preserve the flock, John 10. 12, 27, 28; and finally who leads and the sheep follow, Ps. 23. 2; John 10. 4. If ever there was a day when we need true shepherds raised up of God and doing His work among His people it is today! Pray for such to be raised up and pray that such as are doing these works may be preserved.

AUTHOR PROFILE: Bernard Osborne is retired from a career in education and is in fellowship in the assembly at Dinas Powis, Wales. He is a gifted Bible teacher and travels extensively in ministry throughout the UK and N. America.

There are 33 articles in
ISSUE (2007, Volume 62 Issue 1)

1 Corinthians 9-10 (4)

Part 2. The Believer and Principalities and Powers

Believers under threat

Bryn Mawr Assembly, Philadelphia, USA

The Chuch in Smyrna

Coming out and going in!


Education of Children otherwise than at a School (1)

Evangelical Mission Press, South Africa

An Expectant Assembly

Faith’s Resource in Pressure

‘Fire Safety - Risk Assesment Small and Medium Places of Assembly’

Gospel Work and other Activities

Grace and Mercy

The Greatest Disincentive To Believing That There Are ‘Signs of the Times’

If God should go on strike

The Indispensable Man

Is suffering evidence that God does not care?

Islam, The Challenge to the Church

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The Manand the Trees

Must I really go, Lord?

The One Gospel and its Freedom

Philippians – The Mind of Christ

Rapture Fiction and the Evangelical Crisis


Some Thoughts on Godliness (2)

The Fruitful Vine

The Guide: Volume 2, Truth Under Attack

The Word and the Spirit

Views from the News

What the Bible Teaches – Joshua, Judges and Ruth

Why Does an Assembly Die?

This article is not part of a series

There are 21 articles by this author

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The Eventide of Prospective Deliverance, Mark 4. 35 to 5. 2

The Eventide of Prayerful Intercession, Mark 6. 30-52

The Eventide of Peaceful Repose, Mark 11. 1-11

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The Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John - Introduction

A Promise Concerning the Spirit, John 1.32, 33

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The Fruit of the Spirit is Goodness

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The Fruit of the Spirit is Meekness

The Fruit of the Spirit is Self control