Life as a minister of GOD or as a shepherd is not easy. I have learned to reach out and take off particular clothing, that I would never have parted with, in order to bring that one 'sheep' back home. I have learned to take off the garment of pride for instance so that I can don the one of humility so that I can reach out to the ‘lost one’.
Now, I do not know about you but for me I let people walk out of my life or I walk out of their lives. Before I became a fulltime minister, this would not bother me at all. In fact, this was one of the ways that helped me cope with life and with life’s disappointments. Nonetheless, when I accepted the call to serve GOD, I found that I could not always do what I felt like doing or magnify my feelings...I had to do what GOD told me to do regardless of whether I wanted to do it or not. Sometimes, I did not feel ‘healed’ enough to return to the one who caused me pain or with whom I had disagreed but GOD insisted that I do and I did.
If you have been following what the Spirit of GOD is saying in this season, you must know that we are in a season of mercy and reconciliation. In alignment with this, a few weeks back GOD impressed it upon my heart to forgive certain people and I did. Now, in case you are wondering, I do apologize a lot but sometimes people are not that willing to take me back.
Now, I had a silent disagreement with someone a few months back and that deafening silence, that I am almost sure you identify with, developed. I had apologized to her for what I had done wrong but I think she was too hurt to continue being friends with me. Therefore, that silence began. You must realize that GOD will often let me peek into people’s hidden sentiments towards me so I knew exactly what she felt towards me. However, I did not feel up to saving that ‘friendship’ and so I let it go – I did not hold on to it. In fact, I justified myself that my part in her life was done.
However, just yesterday (after a few nudges in that direction) GOD told me to open the communication lines! Of course, it was not what I wanted to do – my pride did not want me to do that! Nevertheless, GOD insisted that I do so so I did. I cannot lie to you that she sounded enthusiastic to hear from me and she definitely did not show it but I had done my part and that was that. I did not intend to do anything else other than that but GOD wanted me to persist so He led me to reach out to her again this morning. I did not say much but I only did what GOD prompted me to do and left it at that. Interestingly, this time it was not that hard seeing that I did not expect any enthusiasm from that corner but her response indicated that she had warmed up somewhat!
Now, the reason that I am writing to you today is to let you know that I have realized that, as a minister of GOD, I have a very big responsibility to the flock. I cannot afford negative sentiments that stand in the way of peace and reconciliation!
Secondly, I realize that I must go after the ‘broken’, the ‘maimed’ and the lost! I cannot rest on my laurels and enjoy the sun while some sheep is hurting out there! My friend’s reaction when I first reached out to her yesterday reminds me of a lost cock. When I was a child, we had a handful of chicken at any given time. However, sometimes, they would wander off and lose their way back home. We would then have to look for them but when we found them, they would retreat into a corner too scared to come to our arms. They would scamper off in fright until we would force our way and gather them in our arms.
As a minister of GOD, I must insist. I must insist and force love to the same person who does not want it from me. I now know that, sometimes, people do not know what is good for them and I must insist, push my way, and gather them in my arms.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me — just as the Father knows me and I know the Father — and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:11-15).
When I asked GOD to make me walk the true Shepherd’s path, I did not know that it would involve circumstances such as these. I did not know that for me to become a good shepherd or to walk the true Shepherd’s path, I would have to be the hired hand first! I did not know that I would even abandon the sheep at some point and then be gently reminded to return to them.
A good shepherd does not sit back and watch some sheep, in pain, crouch away in a corner afraid and alone. He ‘gets out of the comfort of his home’ and goes out, ‘in the dark’, to rescue the ‘lost one’. He braves the ‘dangers of the night’ and lays down his life. Now, the dangers of the night may be rejection by the ‘sheep’. While pride and all such things that you hold dear to you and would stand in the way of your going after that lost sheep, epitomize your life. You have to lay down these things and go after that sheep and rescue him or her.
You may think that since you are not a minister in Church, with a title, that this does not apply to you but it does. Even as you read this, the Spirit of GOD is impressing it upon you to reach out to that lost sheep. That person who looks up to you or sees you as his or her mentor is the sheep that GOD placed in your life. Let go of your pride and make that connection – insist on breaking the silence and bring that sheep back to your ‘sheep-pen’.
Dear GOD, I admit that I have sometimes been the hired hand! I have abandoned the sheep of my sheep pen because of pride and similar negative emotions. Please forgive me. I now return to you and ask you to make me a good shepherd. Make me like Christ who lay down His life for me. Strip me of all those negative emotions and character traits that hinder me from being a good shepherd. I thank you, LORD, because you have done it. In Jesus’ name, I have prayed, amen.