Since shepherding was one of the more common occupations in Bible times, the Biblical writers often used sheep and shepherds as metaphors to communicate some very important truths. God is Israel’s loving shepherd, guiding them throughout their history. God’s people are like sheep-helpless, dependent, easily led astray, yet so precious to their owner. In his mercy God provided leaders to shepherd his people. However, all too often these shepherds, thought only of themselves and failed to take proper care of the flock – Ezekiel 34: 4 ” You have not strengthened the weak, healed the sick, bandage the injured, brought back the strays, or sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled over them. “Thus God himself promised to care for them and to provide a new shepherd who knowns his sheep persistently searches for those who are wandering and lost, and is even willing to die for them. As the chief shepherd who loves his flock, Jesus wants the leaders of his church to also be loving shepherds who serve as good examples for the flock. The apostles gave instructions on how to function as good shepherds ( pastors ).