But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their deaths. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman accountable. —Ezekiel 33:6
Leadership is an awesome responsibility. To stand before others as a leader implies two great responsibilities. First, Ezekiel said that a leader is a watchman (Ezekiel 33:2). The watchman’s job is to stand upon the wall and never relax his vigilance in looking for the enemy. The watchman is no respecter of persons, but he issues the warning for all to hear. If the watchman is sleeping, afraid, or unconcerned about giving the warning, the Lord will hold him accountable for the blood of his people. The leader’s second responsibility is as a shepherd (Ezekiel 34:2). The leader is not only to lead but also to feed the flock of God. The leader who spends all his time and attention feeding himself neglects his flock. Ezekiel rebuked such leaders, saying, “You have not taken care of the weak. You have not tended the sick or bound up the broken bones. You have not gone looking for those who have wandered away and are lost. Instead, you have ruled them with force and cruelty” (v. 4). Shepherds should never be harsh, brutal, or uncaring, but rather they should serve as examples of kindness and concern to their flocks. Leaders who fulfill the dual roles of watchman and shepherd should be highly respected. “Obey your spiritual leaders and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they know they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this joyfully and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit” (Hebrews 13:17). Obey and pray for your watchman and shepherd, for your spiritual life is in his hands.