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23 January 2012

Shepherd

"The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever." Psalm 23

This morning I was drinking chai reading Mark 6.

The sun was shining over the water in the distance, I was warm and comfortable in blankets with a peaceful serenity around me.

Yet this week has been anything but serene.

Underlying reasons exist, but I think what I am beginning to realize was that the real root of my struggle was that I had forgotten the first verses of Psalm 23.

The Lord is my shepherd.

Not my boss...
Not my family...
Not my church...
Not my job...
Not myself...

The Lord is my shepherd.

In Mark 6 there are many examples of Jesus as the Shepherd...and I had forgotten what a real shepherd does...

"Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." vs 31

"When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things." vs 34

But what happens next is what I had never really seen (and maybe everyone else knows this one but it was actually a revelation to me!)...

That then the disciples came to Jesus and tell him to send the people away so that they can get bread. So they were sort of kind of trying to be compassionate and take care of the people so that they would not be hungry. But their answer was to send them away to find something. So their caring was not really coming from their understanding that perhaps they were the disciples, they were to be the caring shepherd?

"But He answered, "You give them something to eat". vs 37

It really hit me.

Jesus had been concerned before when the disciples came back from ministry and had not gotten a chance to eat for all the comings and goings. So Jesus took them away, and took them to a quiet spot. The Shepherd lead them to a spot.

(This week by the way during our crazy hectic chaos day our director kept trying to eat but never really got the chance...I can see her wilting salad in my mind's eye right now as it waits for her on her desk amidst the scattered papers...perhaps this was what was happening to the disciples?)

So then the very disciples are shortly after in a situation where they are called on to be the shepherds of people...and they freak out.

I would totally be doing that. In fact, I do that almost daily.

I'm sort of a freak out type person, as I like to plan and I'm guessing that the disciples had no plan for this day or this crowd or this situation.

And that I think is why this passage just calmed me today, and convicted me, and reminded me...that I am not the final shepherd...but God is.

For even though I am called to feed His sheep, He is the one where all the food comes from...the loaves and the fishes...and the compassion to do it...and the strength to go one more time into Omonia...and the courage to walk after Him into an unknown future.

I'm not sure this means much to anyone, but for me it altered something that has been a bit off kilter these days.

Thank you Lord for revealing this truth to me today.

Amen.

Shalom in Him