“For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” Titus 1:7-9
“Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.” 1 Peter 5:2-6
Bellwether: leader; one that takes the lead or initiative; pacesetter, front runner, trailblazer; someone or something that shows how a situation will develop or change
When God lays out in the Scriptures the characteristics that describe a godly leader, they are all undergirded and marked with humility. The origin of bellwether is from a wether or other male sheep that leads the flock, usually bearing a bell. Sheep are rather humble, senseless animals, yet the one donning the bell would attract and lead the flock- even if aimlessly . We are sheep who have gone astray, yet by God’s grace returned to the Shepherd of our souls. As His children, we are to lead out and upward in our current day. Following our Good Shepherd is vital if we are to be a worthy bellwether for others. (Isaiah 53:4-6; 1 Peter 2:25)
Jesus led the way in His example, and beckons us to follow. When He had every right to dominate and be honored, He humbled Himself to the lowest place. He was not driven by reactive emotion or present comfort, but by the joy that awaited in accomplishing His Father’s will. He returned temper, cruelty, accusation, and violence with silent self-discipline and serene peace, giving clear testimony to His holiness and the control of the Spirit. He was a divine bellwether for all who would follow by faith, and we can emulate Him as heavenly trail blazer. (Isaiah 53:2-3,7-11; Matthew 27:14,54; John 4:34; 13:15; Philippians 2:3-8; Hebrews 12:2)
In a culture rife with dissension, hot with passion, and drunk with greedy self-indulgence, the Lord’s bellwethers are to stand apart and lead out as He did. It is subversive to love and cherish what is good when those around us are concerned only with what is good for me. When others clamor to castigate, gossip, be noticed, or get ahead, God’s leaders speak truth in love, take the low place, and serve willingly as examples. (Ephesians 4:15)
Is our view of God high enough that we are daily humbled before Him? In present surroundings, how do we ring a bell for uprightness and so lift sights, and elevate thought and speech? What kind of example do we set in discipline and service?
Lord, make me a bellwether for all that is good and holy so I lead others to You.