“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.” 1 Timothy 1:12
While listening to “Focus on the Family” recently, I heard Sheila Walsh say “It is the Shepherds job to get me home” and those words and that program really caught my attention. Nothing that you or I can do that will get us to Heaven, it is only what Jesus has already done that will get us home. The Good Shepherd watches over us, the Holy Spirit encourages us and we are truly blessed that He considers us worthy to help to use our ‘gifts’ to do His work.
When I was in high school and worked during the summer months in the alfalfa fields picking up bales I remember one farmer who happened to raise sheep instead of cattle as so many farmers in Eastern Nebraska did back in the day. I will never forget the awful smell of the sheep; a pungent odor that caused the eyes to squint and face to wrinkle as the words ‘pee-ewe’ left my mouth. The attached photo is of a Lutheran goatherd in Saltedere, Haiti. These Haitian goats smell like Nebraska sheep and seemed to be just as smart as well; they needed a shepherd. We too are like sheep, our sinful lives reek of a pungent odor. The children attending Christian schools in Haiti need the Bon Barger (Good Shepherd) and you and I too need that Good Shepherd to lead us along our journey. The hymn ‘For all the Saints who from their labors rest’ was written by William How in 1864 and they are an excellent reminder of our journey to our Heavenly home.
“For all the saints who from their labors rest, who Thee by faith before the world confess,
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest, Alleluia! Alleluia! Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress, and their Might; Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight; Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light. Alleluia! Alleluia! Oh, may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold, fight as the saints who nobly fought of old and win with them the victor's crown of gold. Alleluia! Alleluia! O blest communion, fellowship divine, we feebly struggle, they in glory shine; yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine. Alleluia! Alleluia! And when the fight is fierce, the warfare long, steals on the ear the distant triumph song, and hearts are brave again, and arms are strong. Alleluia! Alleluia! But, lo, there breaks a yet more glorious day; the saints triumphant rise in bright array; the King of Glory passes on His way. Alleluia! Alleluia! From earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast, through gates of pearl streams in the countless host, singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Alleluia! Alleluia! The golden evening brightens in the west; soon, soon, to faithful warriors cometh rest. Sweet is the calm of Paradise the blest. Alleluia! Alleluia!”
Dear Heavenly Father, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.
May God be with you…Jay