Friday, December 21, 2012

SHEPHERDS by Tony Manley

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.”  Luke 2:8

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”  Ps. 23:1-3

Shepherds are wonderful people. Caring, providing, protecting, and leading their flocks. Unassuming people and sometimes in some circles, I am told, unaccepted people. This description of shepherds sounds very familiar to me about my Shepherd. 

Often in the Christmas account in Luke 2, the shepherds are heralded as the lowliest and poorest audience that received the Good News of Jesus’ birth. Rightly so, we embrace the truth Jesus came for all – the lowliest and poorest as well as the “highliest” and the richest. Jesus is for all. But today, I thought about the character of shepherds and the character of my Shepherd. Both care for their flocks – sheep.  Being assigned to watch over a group of unintelligent and smelly beings is not what I dream of doing. Yet, as they say, somebody has to do it! A good shepherd makes sure his unintelligent and smelly sheep are not in want. The role of the unintelligent and smelly one is to just trust and obey. Follow well, listen well, and rest well. Ah, the life of a sheep!
Sound familiar? I am that sheep. I have that Shepherd. The One who makes my life to “not be in want.” The One who gives me rest in green pastures. The One who takes me to quiet waters - peaceful places of refreshment. The One who rebuilds my heart when it is scratched and broken. The One who says, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father - and I lay down my life for the sheep.”  John 10:14-15

Everything in God’s Word has purpose, and because the Word is a living document, it speaks to my heart with purpose for the moment. This morning I am loving the detail about shepherds saying, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Luke 2:15

“The shepherds returned, (to their fields) glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” Luke 2:20

In my heart, I wonder…did the shepherds know they had just been honored to be the first invites to see the Great Shepherd, the One who was the ultimate example of a Shepherd?  Did Mary and Joseph understand the purposeful heart of God to bring shepherds to the intimacy of the Chief Shepherd’s birth? 

Thank you, Jesus, for being the Shepherd of this sheep’s unintelligent and smelly heart! Thank you for coming to me and inviting me to see You, just as the shepherds were brought to You that night in Bethlehem. May I return daily to the life I live, glorifying and praising You for the things I have heard and seen.  Amen 

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