How then should a Shepherd Live?

Holly Culhane discusses how King David emphasized personal over obligatory faith and the benefits with our Lord and all our relationships.

By Holly Culhane

Six hundred thirteen, that’s the number of commandments that Jewish Rabbis of old taught were required for the Jews to follow if they were to be found righteous. An impossible task it would seem.

However, the song David wrote to reinforce his obligation to the Father after bringing the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, brought that number down to 11. As I was reviewing David’s song earlier this week, I was reminded of the importance of a personal vs. an obligatory faith and how what David wrote could change the game in a ministry or work team.  


Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? 

Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts. 

Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends. 

Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the Lord, 

and keep their promises even when it hurts. 

Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent. 

Such people will stand firm forever.
Psalm 15 


David makes it clear. To enjoy fellowship with God, we need to lead a blameless life and do what is right.  


To enjoy fellowship with each other, we need to… 

     Follow God’s standards. 

          Speak only the truth. 

               Live with sincerity. 

                    Refuse to gossip or partake in it. 

                         Reject doing harm to others. 

                              Speak only good of others.  

                                   Despise the despicable. 

                                        Honor those in the body of Christ. 

                                             Keep our promises no matter the cost. 

                                                  Lend without interest. 

                                                       Refuse the appearance of impropriety. 


What if we, as shepherd leaders, led teams with these principles in mind? What if we communicated these values both as the standards to which we would hold ourselves accountable and as the principles guiding our collaboration with others? Could fellowship with each other – unity, communion, companionship, comradery, partnership, mutuality, solidarity – take place? Would our environments be transformed into places of cooperativeness? Would our teams be committed to strength and integrity, as well as to each other? 


If these 11 standards brought fellowship with God, would they not bring fellowship with each other?  


Let’s consider enhancing our teams understanding of repentance and forgiveness as well, and watch the most remarkable outcomes take place. 


Shepherding well requires tough decisions, bold choices, and full commitment. Will you join David? 

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Presence Point

Presence Point equips leaders to intentionally live into their calling as shepherds in the lives of those they lead, and partners with multipliers to do the same within their sphere of influence.

1 thought on “How then should a Shepherd Live?”

  1. I lived the obligatory religion when I was young. I was even an alter boy and faithful to serve all 40 days of lent. I went to confession every Saturday and food all of the penance I was told to do. But, I felt like a hamster on a wheel and never feeling worthy. So I decided that I could never satisfy a god who is chasing me with a stick. That’s why I turned down all invitations to attend any church. Doug invited me to church for 7 years before I ever accepted his invitation. I was amazed to hear a humble man teaching TRUTH, and I knew it was truth. At 52 years old I finally heard the truth of the gospel and my picture of God changed. I now see a humble Jesus walking to the cross for me, a sinner who used to want nothing to do with God or any church.
    Your picture of Jesus will determine your response.
    I’m so grateful that God never gave up on me. I am aware of 11 major turning points in my life and the first one was when I was only 16 years old, and the last was when I was 52. Thank you God, thank you Jesus.

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