Sometimes a verse from the past, one I’ve not thought about for some time, pops into my head. When it just keeps coming back, I know God is speaking to me.
There is great comfort knowing God is my Shepherd. The imagery is easy for me having grown up on a cattle ranch with a father who knew well the condition of his herd and who gave them much attention. It was hard work with long hours. There simply is no easy way to “know well” and “give attention to.”
Just as with anything God calls us to, He does it first and best, giving excellent, personal, sacrificial care to His sheep, while commanding us to reflect Him in the care and attention we give to the sheep he places around us.
Brennan Manning wrote in Abba’s Child, “The heart of it is this: to make the Lord and His immense love for you constitutive of your personal worth. Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. God’s love for you and His choice of you constitute your worth. Accept that, and let it become the most important thing in your life….I stand now anchored in this God who tells me, ‘You are My son, My beloved one.’”
Our Shepherd lived and died for us, adopting us into His very family. It really is that simple. He loves us with a love we cannot comprehend. Knowing us well, He calls us His beloved. He feels us push Him away, rushing off in our frantic attempts to be important and loved elsewhere, and still He is attentive to us.
As we bask in this reality – and it is reality – we are called to become shepherds who spend the time, make the sacrifices, live the lives that value, and are attentive to those He has placed around us. He invites us to give others tastes of the very Shepherd who is busy loving us.
It is a joy to watch shepherds do their jobs well. Janice Freedenburg gladly spends days chauffeuring one of our Green Gables members to the doctor or transporting children to her kid’s club. Many more spend time mentoring, helping with homework, tutoring, leading worship, teaching, sorting through clothing in the clothing room at the apartments, or cooking meals. All do so with hearts that reflect well on their Shepherd Jesus.
As we turn the page into a new season, we turn the page into a new chapter. It is my prayer that we would do so with eyes firmly planted on our Shepherd, believing His words to us, enjoying being known by Him, basking in His attention. It is my prayer that we would then slow down to know well those around us, and attend to them gently and generously.
If you would like to join the Multi-Housing team this fall, putting your shepherding skills to use in some new ways, check out our table on Sunday and pick up one of our new Multi-Housing booklets. We have opportunities for you!