Shepherds are not interested simply in the survival of their sheep; they want them to thrive. To grow to their full potential.
Our Shepherd is no different.
The God who began a good work in us will continue to perfect it until we are fully conformed to the image of our savior-shepherd. The Son works with the Father to accomplish that. The Great Shepherd works with his under-shepherds to do the same within the flock.
The effectiveness of our shepherding activities is measured by how well they contribute toward the Shepherd’s goal of transformation. Are the sheep growing in Christ-likeness? Not simply in outward behavioral ways, but in inward heart ways? Not as ever-more realistic imitations of Jesus, but as increasingly consistent abiding-based manifestations?
Ultimately, the Shepherd’s desire is to grow our capacity to receive love. For us to experience ever-deeper fellowship with the Father and the Son. And for us to re-present our indwelling Savior with increasing accuracy and consistency.
Our objective as under-shepherds must align with his.