Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Shepherd

Psalm 23 says, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." We've heard it a million times - and if you've never heard that, find that Psalm online and read it.  The wold for "Lord" is the name for God that - back in the day - no one actually would pronounce.  The unspeakable, awesome name of God - the Lord - He is your shepherd.

And then in Matthew 10, Jesus says that our shepherd has given us authority over unclean spirits - to cast them out - and to heal every kind of disease and to heal every kind of sickness.  So our shepherd helps us (in many ways) but specifically here he EMPOWERS the disciples of Jesus.  I admit, I want to do an in-depth word analysis of both "disease" and "sickness." In the words of James Brown, "What kind of power we got?" At any rate, this power Jesus describes is stronger than the power that holds people prisoner.

And he's given that power to you and me.

Next thing I want to mention today is what he says in verse 8.  Our shepherd 1) loves us and 2) empowers us and 3) commands us to use what power we've got.  This is, essentially, commanding us to be his kids - to stand on our relationship with him, to trust that he truly is our shepherd.

He says, "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.  Freely you received, freely give."

Where must we be to fulfill this command?  Who must we associate with?  And what's the criteria for giving - I mean, what if the person doesn't believe or won't come along with us or won't get excited about the mission we are on?

Freely you received.  Freely give.

And we see that in his nature from ages past:  the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

We shall not want because everything he does for us is done because he loves us.

A great part of that love - a tremendous part of it - is in his weaving into you the power of his purpose.  "I give you power over all this junk - all this nastiness that destroys peoples lives.  Don't commoditize it or privatize it.  Give it away."

I'm trying to see that and live that today.  And, of course, that means I'm trying to see Jesus, who lived this out, and I'm trying to follow him out - even when all I hear is him calling me on to follow.