REVIEW FROM LAST WEEK’S FACTS: There is a mystical pace and rhythm that characterizes God’s ministry that can only be discovered by stealing away with Him to hear His voice: “My soul, wait (Lit: Tarry, forebear, to stop)only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him…But those who hope (Lit: To expect, tarry, wait for) in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Psa. 62:5 – Amp; Isa. 40:31- NIV).
WE CONTINUE : This is the Father’s calling for us. Yet, in our frantic, frenetic, insecure activity-driven lives we often resist His invitation: “ This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it’” (Isa. 30:15).
Jesus echoed a similar invitation: ” O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” And the cost of our rejection? “Look, your house is left to you desolate” (Matt. 23:37-39).
In observing the goal driven approach to ministry where people become pawns and the pressure to increase the numbers is king, our spiritual leaders often look more like cattle drivers than shepherds. When Jacob and Esau met for reconciliation, hard driving, hunter-provider Esau stated, “Let us be on our way; I’ll accompany you.” Jacob, concerned that his sheep and children not be driven like cattle, countered, “You know, my lord, that the children are tender and delicate and need gentle care, and the flocks and herds with young are of concern to me; for if the men should overdrive them for a single day, the whole of the flocks would die” (Gen. 33:12 -Amp. 13b- NIV).
To help determine if you are a cattle driver or a shepherd, you may want to prayerfully ponder the following passages, and then thoughtfully consider the questions below:
“ The Lord is my shepherd…He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake…He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young…The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full…I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (Psa. 23:1-3; Isa. 40:11; Jn. 10:10, 11).
Is the pace and tone of your life reflective of the beauty and measured tempo of Christ’s life?
If your life is your message (and it is), what message are you sending by the tenor of your life: (1) God is in sovereign control? Or (2) It’s panic city, because it’s all up to me?
If you are running at a frantic pace, what does that suggest about the quality of your times alone with God?
So, tell me, are you a cattle driver or a shepherd? Or the victim of a crushing man made religious system?
” Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly ” (Matt. 11:28-30 Msg.).
This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.
R. Dwight Hill