Know well the condition of your flock, and pay attention to your herds, for wealth is not forever; not even a crown lasts for all time. When hay is removed and new growth appears and the grain from the hills is gathered in, lambs will provide your clothing, and goats, the price of a field; there will be enough goat’s milk for your food – food for your household and nourishment for your servants. Prov 27:23-27 (HCSB)
Life requires diligence, dedication, discipline, dedication and certainly determination. There is no place for those who like to just float on what little success they have had. We are either climbing mountains or sliding back down the hillside. The level places in life are short and can set you up for defeat and disappointment, if you are not wary about the path that lies ahead.
According to God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom found in God’s Word, life is full of trials, tribulations, and times of testing for a purpose! Our “faith walk” needs constant exercise to grow and become stronger for the really tough times in life. No one walks through their lifetime without some strain and pain along the journey. It is part of God’s plan for all of us to build us up, not to break us down. God also promises to never give us more than we can handle. He is our personal trainer in our daily spiritual workouts, and the stress we feel through life certainly makes us appreciate our life when the stress is removed.
Today’s passage also points to the fact that we should constantly be alert and aware of our responsibilities towards those God has entrusted us. We are to be strong enough to care for them and to nurture their growth. God uses us as His laborers in the field to sow the seeds, to water and tend the fields until new life sprouts. We are also to be like shepherds, just as He and His Son are shepherds of their flocks. Just as we have been given the ability and capacity to be vigilant and responsible, God places some of His sheep in our care for a period of time. He expects us to watch over and protect His sheep, just as He would. And, it is through those periods of trials, tribulations, and testing that have made us into acceptable shepherds in His eyes.
Yet, God also is a very loving and gracious Great Shepherd. He rewards us well for being good and faithful stewards of His flock and fields. So rejoice in what seems like difficult times in our lives, and especially when you feel overwhelmed and accountable to so many people – God is entrusting you with His prized possessions, and is relying upon you to be His appointed and anointed mentor and caretaker for them.
For me personally, there are days I wonder about my capacity to be an effective father, grandfather, teacher, coach, and Bible study leader. And, I do complain when I feel overwhelmed, but then I recognize the enormous responsibility God has entrusted me with and the privilege of serving in the roles I do. Then, it all makes sense and I find the strength and wisdom that I thought I lacked. Thank you Lord! Your servant is smiling this morning and is ready for the challenges and opportunities of another great day!
Then Jesus went to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness. When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” Matt 9:35-38 (HCSB)