“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” Luke 2:8-15 NKJV
I like all the characters in the Christmas narrative. The wise men, the angels, Mary and Joseph and especially those shepherd dudes!
The Shepherds are folks that most of us can relate with…hard workers, blue collar, rugged, minimum wage, salt of the earth type of people. These are the kind of people that I knew best while growing up. Most of the folks in my neighborhood barely got by even though they worked very hard. People shared with each other and neighbors really cared about other neighbors.
I also relate to these guys because they had the important assignment to guard the sheep. That is not as easy as it seems. Sheep stink, wander off, they bite; sometimes they don’t show much appreciation to the shepherd. Gee that sounds a lot like being a pastor! Guarding sheep, protecting the fellowship, is something that all church leaders and deacons should do.
The enemy is attacking our churches by attacking the unity and fellowship. Satan knows that if he can divide us and get us fighting with each other over stupid stuff, we will not have time or energy to minister and share the Gospel with lost people.
Sadly many pastors have laid down their shepherd staff and picked up a fire hose because it seems like all they do is put out fires inside the fellowship. They are more like firemen than shepherds. If we are going to win the world to Christ we must allow our pastors to be shepherds and train other shepherds to help us take care of our sheep and reach more sheep for the Kingdom.
Sometimes a shepherd just goes thru the routine day in and day out and nothing out of the ordinary happens, but then sometimes something extraordinary happens. God shows up in surprising ways. This night was of course a once in a life time experience. These humble shepherds were the first to hear that Christmas had happened…The Messiah has come. Christ is born! Hope incarnate has arrived.
J.B. Phillips wrote, “We must never allow anything to blind us to the true significance of what happened at Bethlehem so long ago. Nothing can alter the fact that we live on a visited planet.”
Today we have the same shepherd like privilege of sharing with people that God has visited this planet. Immanuel-God with us. Glory to God!
Have a Christ filled Christmas and Keep the Son in Your Eyes,
Thanks for your repsonse Dr. Stokes. Blessings in the new year!
Great article! I enjoyed it immensely! There have times im my ministry when I have felt more like a fireman than a shepherd. It takes the joy out of ministry. Praise the Lord my current church has allowed me 7 years of shepherding, very little fire fighting.