There is a considerable difference between representing Jesus and re-presenting him.

To represent him can amount to little more than our best efforts to copy him. Your mileage may vary, but my best efforts have never come all that close to the real deal.

But to re-present him, that’s another thing. It’s what the Bible refers to as manifesting the life that is in us. It is not us trying to look/think/act like Jesus, it is us allowing Jesus to express himself through us.

We may be very compassionate people, with a heart to shepherd God’s people. We may have training and skills and tools that can increase our effectiveness in shepherding. But ultimately, with all of those things combined, we will still fall short. There simply is no substitute for THE Shepherd.

That doesn’t mean that our gifts, skills, and training are to be disregarded. When we allow the Shepherd to re-present himself – his heart – through us, it will have the earmarks of our partnership.

What the sheep need is the Shepherd’s loving care, and we can be the ones who deliver it.