If there is an image that I adore, it is Jesus as our Shepherd. Maybe it is the image of warmth, maybe it is the image of guidance, maybe it is the image of discipline, maybe it is just the pure simplicity of it all. What I know is that when I reflect on Jesus as the Shepherd in my life, I feel complete. I continue to find it amazing as I, a true novice, continue my journey of God's Word, I open up treasures that enhance the peacefulness of my life. As our days become more hectic and chaotic, the refuge that I find in God's word brings solace to this world. It is with my Shepherd I find peace.
Who on this Earth can provide a similar picture for me on a regular basis? It is my pastor. As a Shepherd of our flock, our congregation, he provides similar images for me. There are times when the image and message he shares is one of warmth, one by which I can truly feel God's immeasurable an unconditional love for me. There are times that the image he shares is guidance and direction for my life, when my life may seem too chaotic through my glasses. Also, there are times of discipline, where the message is challenging me to reflect upon my life and my choices - seeing if they line up to what God wants for my life. All the while, my Pastor's message is simple. Jesus gave His life for mine on the cross. He provides forgiveness and grace for all that I do/don't do that is wrong. He loves me with a love I cannot even understand. Best of all, He has prepared a place for me to come home to when my time has come to rejoice with Him in heaven.
My Pastor, Pastor Mick, provides that for me. On a regular basis over 26 years, he has given of himself - and to the rest of our congregation - in many times of need. He has been a source of strength, of vision, and of love. During October, it is Pastor Appreciation. Many of us, I'm sure, are recipients of our pastor's compassion and endless work. Being the granddaughter of a pastor, although I never met him (He is with our heavenly Father in glory), the stories my mom shares of his countless hours with his parishioners, shepherding to their countless needs, helps me to understand the role of a Pastor. Much of their life is not their own, but that of their congregation. The day to day rigor that comes with this role can be much to bear. Yet, their shepherding continues.
Look to who is shepherding your spiritual needs? Has your pastor provided guidance for you? Have they been a compassionate ear when one was so desperately needed? Has your pastor shared the Good Word of God to you and pierced your heart with goodness and love? Think about your pastor's role in your life. If he is shepherding you throughout the years, then it may be time. A heartfelt thank you, a note of appreciation, maybe even some home-cooked treats or such. No doubt, it would be appreciated.
Being a shepherd to others is not easy. Keeping a watchful eye on the flock and providing for their spiritual needs is huge in responsibility. Those who take on this role do so with God truly in their hearts. As your lives have been blessed by that of a Pastor, a Shepherd here on Earth, may you respond back in kind. Follow, respond, be grateful, and assist. All of that is necessary for the flock to flourish.
A note to my Earthly Shepherd - I thank you Pastor. Your guidance of my journey of faith has been much. Your sermons help me to reflect on my behaviors, challenge them when necessary, and change to show love. Your love of God's word has inspired me on more occasions than I can remember to share His love with others around me. May you continue to shepherd us all with the passion that God has provided you.
To the rest of us, let us remember and appreciate our Earthly Shepherds. They help us to see the Simple Faith that is necessary in today's world, God's love.
"And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding." (NIV) Jeremiah 3:15