In the roulette wheel of life, does your head sometimes spin out of control? Do you look at your present life and wonder how you are going to make it through.. as you watch the merry-go-round of life leave you struggling in the mire? Do you sometimes feel that life has dealt you a really duff hand of cards.. a full-hand of jokers, where you see yourself as the chief clown – a failure in your own eyes, and a thing of scorn to pitying onlookers?
Do you look back on your life and bemoan what you have left or lost? Do you look forward and see nothing but pain for the rest of your life on earth? Remember, that in the midst of all life’s pains and disappointments, God can deal you the winning hand, though to others it may appear mean.. if you will remain in faithful obedience in the place where He has planted you.. if you will just open your ears and listen to all that He has to say to you – if you will just open the eyes of your heart to the promises He has to give you.
This is what happened to a motley group of despised shepherds. Theirs was no enviable position and yet they were a group of faithful watchers, who in humility of heart and faithful obedience to their calling saw God’s glory.
They were engulfed in the glory of God, in the midst of their mean lowly calling: and in the same region, there were shepherds, out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were filled with fear. We see that while these shepherds were at their common, humble work, they received this wonderful vision.
The heavenly visitor came to this little band as they were fulfilling their given task. The angelic host visited these men that were faithfully remaining at their lowly post. And like them, we too must remain faithful in the menial task God has directed us to. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
These herdsmen were doing the despised task of shepherding a flock of sheep, and like them, we who are His bond-slaves are called to: feed my sheep. They never showed themselves to be ashamed of their calling, and like them, we must never be ashamed of the Man we serve, nor the task He gives, for if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God. And I will confess his name before my Father, and before is His angels.
Perhaps the best place to be found is faithfully carrying out God’s task for your life – for we are called to be faithful and true as our heavenly King is faithful and true. In Matthew 25 we read, His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.’
It must have been a hard, lonely, and a seemingly thankless task, as they toiled all night. But He has promised to be with us always: even unto the end of the age. Indeed, we should never feel lonely – ever: for He is never far from any one of us.
It was not pleasant to be as these shepherds were... poor, away from loved ones - having to stay out all the dark night, watching and protecting dumb sheep from prey.. and He calls us to joyfully face our own collection of difficulties for His name’s sake. James tells us to, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.
No doubt the humble task of those shepherds was severely despised by rich folk, but like our heavenly Man, we too will be derided if we hold fast to our calling... for He was despised and rejected by men - a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
So continue faithfully in the mean, lowly task to which you have been called. Remain at your post. Be sober and be vigilant, sling in hand, despising the shame, for you know not what angelic visitors may have been dispatched to bring you joy... nor when a celestial vision will come to you, if you do not despise your allotted task. But like them we must never be ashamed of the Man we serve nor the task He gives – therefore be thou faithful, and be ye also ready - for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
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