What do you think about this Afghan proverb: If you think you’re leading and no one is following you, then you’re only taking a walk? Jesus asked a similar question in Matthew 18:12. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? (NKJV)
Since my Lord asked this of His disciples, I’ll gladly answer. I think that the shepherd as leader did well in leading 100 sheep. At least one was bound to go astray and he knew it. And when that one went off, the leader went after him – successfully I might add.
It says a lot about the shepherd leader. It also says something about the straying one: he is worth the search, worth finding, worth celebrating, and worth restoring to the group. Of course, that is the point of Jesus’ parable.
But there’s always more when the depth of Scripture is sounded. The shepherd leader did such a good job at leading that he could walk away from the 99 and search for the obstinate one. The 99 were trained – they knew they jobs. They knew how to find food, where to drink without drowning, and when to rest without worry. They also knew that they needed not follow their leader into the mountains where the way was hard and danger lurked. That was their leader’s job. Their job was to keep order in the group as they followed without following.
That’s not only phenomenal followership, it’s phenomenal leadership.