As the Christmas season is in full swing around us, I was brought back to Luke 2 and the Christmas story. There is so much that takes place in this passage, but for me the main theme is that God's will was accomplished. Too often we see the busyness of the season of life that we are in and perhaps we can even get overwhelmed by the season. However, I hope that through it all we can see that God is in control. After all, the purpose of our existence is for God's glory. Therefore, we should see God being glorified in all things.
As I look into this story more, I enjoy reading about the shepherds. Being a shepherd wasn't exactly one of the best jobs of the day, but it was important. The sheep they cared for would provide food, warmth, and other necessary items of the day. But on the social scale, shepherds were not exactly seen as the most popular. That is one of the things that is enjoyable to study in Scripture - God often uses the mundane or lesser things to accomplish His will. I am thankful for that. In this story, God chose to use the shepherds to announce the great message of Christ being born. I see a few things here about the shepherds that I would like to share with you:
1. The shepherds were used while being faithful in their responsibilities (Luke 2:8).
The verse states that the shepherds were in the same country simply "... keeping watch ...". That phrase means "to provide care for". The shepherds were faithful to care for something so simple as sheep, but it is their faithfulness that stands out. Are we faithful like they were? Do we care for the simple things that God gives us charge over? Sometimes I find myself trying to push my way into a bigger role or a higher position, but I am used better for God's glory when I faithfully serve where He has me.
2. The shepherds desired to be near Christ (Luke 2:15, 16).
This point is pretty clear. The Bible says that as a result of the message they were given, they decided to go see this promise fulfilled. Not only that, the Bible says they went "... with haste, ...". The convicting thought for me is this: Do I have the same desire as the shepherds to be near the Savior? It is not about my position in life, but rather my position next to Christ that makes the difference. Do I crave the presence of the Savior each day and do I get close to Him with a sense of urgency? I can see Him greater if I am next to Him and get there quickly.
3. The shepherds gladly proclaimed what they saw (Luke 2:17).
After they had seen the promise fulfilled, the Bible says that "... they made known abroad ..." what they had been told and what they had seen. They were so excited to run to the Savior and that produced excitement to tell others what they had heard and seen. It was the same excitement that the early church people felt when Peter declared that "... we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." (Acts 4:20). Do I have the same passion and ministry that the shepherds had? Some people might have written them off as just shepherds, but God saw them as the best vessel to use to proclaim His message.
As we go through this busy Christmas season, and maybe a busier season of life, may we stop and examine the testimony of these shepherds in Luke 2. They did not seek a platform or a lofty position, but were simply faithful to what they were assigned to do. God used them in a great way. If we allow God to do that with us, He can receive the glory that He deserves! Merry Christmas!
Written by Kenn Winn