advent devotional day 11, the first to hear

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 

God doesn’t always choose the equipped, but always equips the chosen!
On the night the Lord was born, some of the least of the men (in the eyes of the world, that is) were notified first.  Not kings, not rulers, not the Pharisees; but the shepherds.  They were out living in the fields, minding their own business, and they, themselves, received a divine disruption.  God opened up the skies to them, shone His glory all around them, and delivered the announcement that the Savior of the world had been born.

Isn’t that amazing?

Though we cannot know exactly why God chose these men, we can know that they were men who were known for their care and ongoing concern for a flock of living beings.  Shepherds are actually defined as “feeders.”  Sheep didn’t feed in pens or barns, but grazed and foraged the open land.  They would be lost without a shepherd; they might not make it through the seasons of their lives where the weather took a turn for the tough.  The sheep survive solely because the shepherd has a personal interest in their well-being, leads them to water and food, and abides in the fields with them.

Does this sound familiar?
If not, indulge in this with me.
When I first read “shepherd”, I only thought of men in a field.  
But when I read the original inspired word, I began to know differently.

The original Greek word for “shepherd” is ποιμήν, pronounced “poy-mane`.”  
It is defined as a shepherd, or pastor.

Our pastors are those who abide in the world with us, leading us to living water and the bread of life, and genuinely possessing a concern for our well-being.  They nurture our faith as we go out into society and fall prey to the wolves.  They are our shepherds here on earth.  Aside from pastors, there are those people who naturally shepherd those around them.  They may moonlight as our parents, friends, teachers and co-workers, but their true nature is full of God’s light and the desire to share that light.

This tells me that the Lord spoke to those men in the field first, because they were the ones who possessed the character traits necessary for carrying the news of what happened that night out into their world.  These shepherds knew what it was to devote themselves to relationship and communication.  Though Kings and Pharisees were held in high regard, the shepherds worked on that micro-level.

God had enough power, He needed voices.

Even today we know that God goes to those who don’t, dare I say, seem equipped.  But He is a sovereign God with a very sovereign plan.  He meets us where we are.  He does not show favortism.  His motives will never be understood but what we can know is He is consistent as He continues to gather His shepherds and speak to them deep in their hearts.

Have you ever felt the Lord calling you 
and you were unsure you were “ready” or “worthy” of the call?

Have you known a desire that seemed too big, 
though you were certain it was of God?

How has your faith grown since hearing Him speak to you 
when it didn’t seem to be “your place to hear?” 

Listen to the Lord very carefully today and notice when He places people, circumstances or information in your path that seem a little overwhelming or out of your range.  Grasp this moment as one in which the Lord is showing you that He needs a voice!  Take up your own cross, deny the self, and know that, living your life for Him includes hearing His call and trusting it is for you, no matter how big it may feel to the flesh.  

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