23 October 2007

"Shepherd, Your sheep are lost"

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Shepherd, your sheep are weary
Cold and tired, battered and bruised and torn
Shepherd, your sheep are hungry
We got what we want but we still need something more

We need to hear your voice
Whatever You might say
We just need to hear your voice
Show us the way

Shepherd, your sheep are lost
We chased our wants that we thought were needs
Now we can’t get home
Shepherd, your sheep are longing
We ate and we ran, we played and we danced, but we’re empty

--From Shepherd by Todd Agnew

I love this song. In fact, there aren't many songs from Todd Agnew I don't like. This one is one of my favorites from anybody. But as I thought about Shepherd this morning, something dawned on me. In this day and age, many of God's sheep aren't "weary", or "hungry", or "longing." Many of God's "sheep" are full, and comfortable. They've followed the Shepherd to the green pastures and the still waters. But rather than take just a moment to be refreshed, revived, and nourished, they've decided to remain there.

Many of these "sheep" have eaten and drunk so much that they don't feel the need to follow the Shepherd along the paths of righteousness. "That's a rough and rocky path, filled with dangers. I might have to give up something. No, I think I'll just stay here and continued to be filled. I don't need to pour myself out. That's just something I don't feel led to do." (Isn't that the excuse we always give when we don't want to go where God is trying to push us? We say we "don't feel led." It makes us sound spiritual to others while assuaging our own guilt.) We don't want to teach Sunday School to the children, because their snacks aren't as good as the Krispy Kremes and Starbucks in our own little "small group study."

If you are a sheep--if you have begged God to forgive your sins, and turned your back on yourself, and crucified your own fleshly desires on the cross of Christ--where are you today? Are you lazing around the green pastures and still waters, content to stay there and never move? Or do you find your joy in traversing the path trodden by the saints who came before you? Those saints "of whom the world was not worthy?" (Hebrews 11:38)? The path that follows in the footsteps of our dear Savior? The path that is not always filled with the scent of flowers and the calls of songbirds--but the one that is rocky, and difficult, and narrow, and leads to a narrow gate.

Are you hungry? Are you longing? Or are you comfortable?

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