Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Faithful Shepherds

If the shepherds wouldn't have gone to the inn, but straight to the manger, then the message for all of us is quite simple: be who God created you to be. 

When God invited the shepherds to Christmas, He invited them because He knew that they would go straight to where the baby Jesus was. He invited them because He knew they were faithful and that, even in their pursuit of Jesus, they were not going to leave their responsibilities behind. He knew they would take their sheep with them. He knew they would make sure their flocks were secure before anything else. He knew they weren't going to leave hundreds of sheep standing out in the streets; they were going to take them with them, all the way up to the manger itself. 

And this is exactly why He calls us the same way. This is why He puts us where He puts us, makes us who He makes us. 

Because God has given each of us a flock. He has given each of us a task, a responsibility. He has given each of us an opportunity to bring something, or someone, with us from the fields to the manger. And what He has said is that He knows that we are faithful to do it. 

That means that we don't have to change the fundamental nature of our being when we come to Jesus. We don't have to pretend to be wise men if we are, in fact, shepherds. We don't have to come as weary travelers if we were called in from the fields. We don't have to engage in the social niceties of knocking on the door of the inn when we've already found what we're looking for when thinking we were just going to lodge our sheep. 

Now, a quick interjection here because this is important - the fact that we don't have to change ourselves to come to Jesus doesn't mean that coming to Jesus won't change us or that God won't desire us to become a "new man." In fact, just the opposite. 

Not one of those shepherds ever saw a star the same way. 

I'm telling you. Once you've seen the brightest star in the night sky and followed it somewhere unknown and discovered there the baby Jesus, you just don't look up into the vastness of the night sky the same.

Once you've driven your sheep on a journey that you can't quite explain and your sheep themselves lead you to the place where you were supposed to go all along, your sheep bring you to the manger when your human nature would have sent you to the inn, you don't look at your sheep the same way. 

Once you know that your faithfulness is the reason that God called you into this moment, you don't look at your responsibilities the same way. 

One simple encounter with the baby Jesus changes the way you see everything. And if the way you see everything has changed, you're going to change, too. You just can't help it. 

But even as you change, even as you grow, even as you become more firmly rooted in God's incredible design on your life, you can't forget that the fundamental nature of who you are led you to follow that star in the first place. The person you already committed yourself to be took you to the manger instead of the inn. God called you because you are who you are, because there's just something about you that was perfect for this Christmas morning...and it is now being perfected in the shadow of the manger. 

So cool.  

No comments:

Post a Comment