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Laying down my life

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Joined: 31 Mar 2017
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 12:26 am    Post subject: Laying down my life Reply with quote

One of the themes that has been present, seemingly throughout this entire text, is the notion that a true shepherd is willing and ready to give his own life for the sake of the sheep in the flock. Living in 21st century America, ages removed from the nomadic life of the Middle Eastern shepherds of Jesus’ day and earlier, I pondered what this might mean to modern day “Shepherd Leaders” who are seldom called to martyrdom as such in our churches today, at least not in our American churches. As I considered this thought, which often appeared as a mark of a “good shepherd” I deduced that this means laying down our lives as we know them, for the sake of something greater.

It means dying, but not in the sense of martyrdom as many leaders in history have suffered, but in the sense that we die to the comforts, conveniences and cares of the world for the good of those we are called to care for, lead and shepherd. It means sometimes going without, and denying myself of pleasures in order that the sheep may be properly tended. At times it means rising at early morning hours when the rest of the flock and likely even my family is asleep, sacrificing my own rest, that I might respond to a member in crisis. It means choosing to live with “enough” so as to not exploit or otherwise take advantage of the members of my church making financial demands on them which would be a burden and perhaps even handle true ministry from taking place. It means not running off to another sheepfold that can pay me better, or that isn’t as “challenged” or that is larger or more visible in the community (or in the convention.)

To lay down my life means to intentionally and willfully give up who I used to be, or even who I could be, for the sake of my calling to those over whom God has given me charge and responsibility.
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