It's for YOU!
I wonder how many people read the news sheets handed out at church, really read them and put the information down in their diary. Someone once rebuked me for not communicating a special event at the church. The event had been advertised extensively but they failed to identify it as something that was personally for them.
I wonder if we, as church leaders do the same thing at times, especially with scripture. We see a passage as a potential sermon or an answer to someone’s question, but do we register it as something for us personally?
One such passage which may easily fall into that category is Psalm 23 “The Lord is MY Shepherd”. We all love the idea of Jesus being the shepherd of the sheep and I guess we have included that graphic picture many times in our messages but do we apply it personally?
There are scriptures speaking of earthly shepherds with warnings if we fail to meet our obligations in a loving and godly manner: Jeremiah 23:2, Jeremiah 25:34, Ezekiel 34:2, Ezekiel 34:7, Ezekiel 34:9.
The apostle Paul picks up the idea of earthly shepherds in Acts 20:28 “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” And the apostle Peter paints a similar picture in 1 Peter 5:2 “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them”
But who cares for the earthly shepherds? In a sense you may be part of a denomination or group that cares for you and certainly that is something that we at Rural Ministries take very seriously and seek to do. More importantly though, I encourage you to sit down in a quiet place with a nice hot cup of something and read Psalm 23 for yourself as written to you by the Great Shepherd.
The Lord is YOUR shepherd; the shepherd of all shepherds cares for you so that you will have lack of nothing, physical, spiritual or practical. He encourages you take time in green pastures and receive refreshment from His quiet waters so that you benefit from his restoration in your soul. He urges you to seek his guidance along paths of righteousness. Be encouraged that even in the darkest of shadows he is with you and will protect you. Know the closeness of YOUR Shepherd so that you have no fear but the confidence that He is with you now and through eternity.
Do this or something like it regularly, take a deep breath and be at peace – you’re doing a great job!