A bit more on "shepherding". We have talked about the Lord being our Shepherd according to Psalm 23. As I considered the meaning of "shepherd", I began to realize that, in a sense, we are all called to "shepherd". Why do I say this? I say this because of what it means to shepherd. Most of us have a husband or a wife, and/or children. And, those of us who don't, either have a mom or a dad, or a friend and/or relatives, etc. We all have someone in our life who we can reach out to. Again, let's observe the meaning of shepherd from yesterdays writing: (to teach, to keep, to take care of, to watch over and look after, to manage the activities and transactions of, to be an attendant or a servant, to give attention to, to be a companion ... a "special friend"). Are not each of us called to do this in the life of others? The Lord desires that we have the heart of a shepherd, and that we be a "special friend" to others, just as He is to us. Let's take a look at a section of scripture verses on this subject, from the very heart (and mouth) of our friend and Savior, Jesus:
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain [man] went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded [him], and departed, leaving [him] half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked [on him], and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion [on him], And went to [him], and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave [them] to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise (Luke 10:25-37 KJV).
In the Strong's Concordance, the word neighbor means: "friend", which goes right along with the meaning of the word "shepherd". Also from the Strongs Concordance are written these words regarding the "neighbor" we are to minister to according to the above section of scriptures). Quoted from Strongs, a neighbor is:
"According to Christ any other man irrespective of race or religion with whom we live or whom we chance to meet".
It is quite apparent, that we are to treat "all" (everyone) as our neighbor, that we are to reach out in their behalf, ministering to them ... being to them, a "shepherd". For many of us, such an understanding of who our neighbor is, and how we are to reach out to, and care for each one of them (our neighbors), is quite an awakening to our need of a "heart change". It's my prayer today that the Lord will help each one of us to have a heart like His ... a heart that is willing to give up our own selfish ways, our own wants and desires for the sake of others, that we might touch those around us with the heart of a shepherd. Give us such a heart Lord ... a heart like Yours! Amen.
May the love of the Father fill our hearts today, and draw us ever so close to Him!