It may surprise us that God, some thousand years prior to the birth of His son, Jesus, chose an unlikely shepherd boy, David, to be annointed king of his people. He chose David to be the leader of a nation. David spent his youth as a shepherd. He would know how to lead and care for the nation that “God so loved.” David knew what it meant to chase after the one lost sheep. He knew what it meant to spend hours leading the sometimes stubborn sheep to fertile ground and still waters. David knew how to attend to those sheep who had lost their way and gotten hurt. David knew to be on the lookout for the evil snares, wolves and lions, that waited for easy prey. He was well seasoned at protecting those he led. David, the shepherd, who with his shepherd’s staff, protected, corrected, and led his sheep.
Now imagine with me being on a hillside late into night.The warmth of the sun long forgotten and the chill of a dark night has set in. Those awake at this what seems to be God-forsaken hour are the lowly shepherds. The menial job in a family usually given to youngest of the children able to corral the sheep. It is the least important of the family who must keep watch at this hour over the flocks. On that hillside while attending the wayward sheep, often lost without their shepherd, appears from the sky brilliant angels from heaven proclaiming the birth of the long awaited Messiah, our Savior. God chose shepherds to give a majestic birth announcement. His Son, the Savior of the world has been born!
Now fast forward with me some thirty years later from this very scene. Here Jesus proclaims, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep….I lay down my life that I may take it up again.” John 10. Hmmm, Jesus would dare to compare himself with that of a ‘lowly shepherd.’ Indeed, I would say that those who lead best lead with that of a shepherd’s heart. Choose wisely those who you allow to shepherd you. Jesus – good choice. He has proven that he would and did lay down his life.
We have other shepherds in our lives: pastors, mentors, parents, teachers, adminstrators. Look closely to see if they hold those charcterstics of a true shepherd. Every good and worthy shepherd/shepherdess leads ultimately to the Good Shepherd, Jesus. You are a shepherd of your family, your class, your school, your church. Follow the example set before you.
“So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them with his skillful hands. Psalm 78:72
This sweet season of Christmas read with your loved ones Luke 2:1-20. Follow the lead of the shepherds on the hillside who listened to the angels who appeared. The shepherds traveled to an inconspicuous city, Bethlehem, where there they found the Savior of the world.