Shepherd-less Days — A Poetic Leadership Parable

(For Zechariah, who understood)

In the lovely days before,

The flock had all it wanted, and more.

With someone to care and pleasures galore,

In those days before shepherd-less days.

Then suddenly times were no longer fun.

They looked for their shepherd, but he was gone.

The flock no longer had what made them one.

Those days were their shepherd-less days.

There was no protector to keep wolves at bay.

For lions and bears, this flock became prey.

Some fled straight into danger as they ran away

Because of fear in these shepherd-less days.

Then one day a man suddenly came near.

The flock prayed he was the end to all their fear.

But as he worked among them, his motives became clear:

He was a hireling, for the shepherd-less days.

The man sold the best sheep the flock could produce.

He lured in the rest, but it was only a ruse.

He chewed upon some; for the rest he had no use,

In the horror of those shepherd-less days.

Finally the hireling wandered away.

Some best sheep were gone, others scattered away.

The remainder wondered, would there ever be a way

Out of the misery of shepherd-less days?

To the flock, another man came.

Was this one different, or was he the same?

Was he another hireling to play the game

Of herding sheep in shepherd-less days?

The man first began to care for the lost.

To help them he suffered much personal cost.

For them, he was savior and the end of the worst

Of the times known as shepherd-less days.

The youth were next, and for them he did seek.

He gently guided the young and the weak.

They came to see the gentleness in his heart that was meek

As a shepherd’s, ending shepherd-less days.

He loved all the wounded, and did carefully bind

All the hurts he could see, and didn’t seem to mind

If, thinking he was done, more wounds he would find.

His love was healing their shepherd-less days.

He fed up the healthy, making them grow quite strong.

And every ewe, lamb and ram was made to belong.

And all rejoiced as their fears about him were wrong:

He was their shepherd, ending shepherd-less days.

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