Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Are you a Shepherd?

Luke 2:8-20

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us."

So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.

But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.

The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

I have listened to a lot of Christmas sermons over the years. One of the things that makes me think the most is that everyone says that shepherds were among the lowest of the low on the human food chain, so to speak. Their job was low, smelly and cold. But I think they had important jobs. They watched those innocent lambs. Those lambs, who would learn their shepherds voice, follow each other everywhere, and be very dependent on them. They had the animals that God picked to use so many times as examples of what people are very much like. Sheep and lambs are very imporant as examples of Christ.

Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

Psalm 100:3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his ; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Matthew 9:36 When he (Jesus) saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

My mother always comments at Christmas that in all our contatas, the song about the shepherds is always the one we like to sing because it is a little different than the normal Christmas song. The one we are singing this year is jazzy and the choir members like to dance to it. We won't during the cantata, but it's fun to let loose a little during the rehearsals.

Why is the shepherd song so different? May be it is because they are considered not the average, run-of-the-mill people. These guys had no ties to God, except they were minding there own business. Why would God use these fellows to introduce his son to the world? Maybe they were the only ones outside that night. Maybe their hearts were open to hearing the Word. That is something we all need to watch for. You can tell people every day about God and his love, but they have to be receptive to hearing it. Otherwise, it will just fall on deaf ears. You can usually tell when someone is open to hearing what you have to say. They listen intently, they ask questions and they do not get defensive.

God chose these shepherds because they were receptive to the angels greetings and songs. You can not go looking for someone who is receptive, you have to work on them. You pray for them, you be their friend, you gain their confidence; then you start, little by little telling them your story of love and how God found you. It may take a lifetime or a few weeks. It isn't up to you. So I ask you, are you a shepherd? Are you receptive to the message that God has given you?

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