“The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one ” (Psalm 14:2 & 3) .
Looking back at my football days as both a player and a coach, I’m bewildered by the quality of our shepherds and the lack of commitment by the flock. Hayden Fry was our shepherd at SMU football. He was a really good coach; he was good to his players and as innovative as it gets. Approximately 10% of his players “gave it all” on and off the field; ninety percent strayed from the shepherd’s call at night, on weekends and out of season. The picture was similar at Texas A&M in my short tenure as a coach. Our shepherd was Gene Stallings. Like Coach Fry, he was one of the very best and eventually won the national championship at Alabama. Even though both coaches were greatly loved and admired by man players, coaches and fan, both teams could have done better if the coaches and players would have completed pursued their shepherd’s lead. Both teams lost games which they should have won to more faithful flocks. In both cases, the coaches were fired because the sheep were not “all in” as they should have been.
There is no better coach than Jesus! God’s love story is the best love story we’ll ever be invited into. To leave the flock and follow another less well-intended shepherd is unthinkable, yet, the sheep stray for “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
- Luke 15:20-24 – “So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still along way off,his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.”
In this story, which may be the most well-known parable of all time, the incredible patience of the father well reflects the heart of God in His unceasing commitment to the flock He calls His own. Describe the heart of our Shepherd.
- Luke 15:4-7 -“ What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. “Aggressive pursuit” : Describe these two action words as they relate to the heart of your Shepherd.
- Romans 5:8 -“ But God demonstrates His own love toward us,in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. ”
John 10:14 – “I am the good Shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me.”
When and where did The Shepherd find you when you were the furthest away from His care?
- How did He come after you and bring you back safely to His pasture of grace?
- Romans 5:17 -“ For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. ” What does His “abundance of grace” mean to you today?
- Psalm 78:52 -“ But He led forth His own people like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock. ”As you travel in the wilderness of this broken world, what is His guidance like for you?
- In what way(s) do you need to walk more closely by His side?
John13:15 – “For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.”
From today’s scripture, how does THE Shepherd inspire you to shepherd your flock?
“For God is with the righteous generation. You would put to shame the counsel of the afflicted, but the Lord is his refuge” (Psalm 14:5b & 6).
Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication