Today is a milestone for me. This is my 100th blog. For over 4 months now, with the exception of Sundays and a few days without internet service, I have spent my mornings reading, writing, and waxing theological. It has been one heck of a ride. I've learned things about the scriptures and I've even learned a few things about myself. I hope that I can keep this up for years, but I will only keep writing daily if I can keep it fresh. So, 99 attempts in, I try for one more today.
Paul hit me this morning. I have to write fairly quick this morning because I'm running out of battery on my laptop, but Paul said something this morning that struck a chord with me. The 6th chapter of 1 Timothy is where I'm at. In what appears to be his closing comments to his young charge, he says this, "Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care..." That almost brought a lump to my throat.
I've been a shepherd for 11 years now. In those 11 years, I have been shepherd to hundreds of people, and even as I sit and write this morning, I remember all of them. Names may elude me every now and then, but I remember them. I take my role as shepherd very seriously, as no doubt Paul and, later, Timothy did, so I take it personally when one of my flock is troubled, and want to do all I can to help. I guess that's just the protector in me.
But the brutal truth is, as much as I might want to guard those entrusted to my care, I can't fix all of their problems, and that bothers me. There is something in most people that wants to fix the hurts of others, I truly believe that, but it's just not always possible. So what do we do then? Just sit back and watch them suffer? Watch them struggle? I just don't know if I can do that.
I've been told over the years that part of my calling is learning when it's time to refer. It's tough for me to do that, but I have learned that part of my role in guarding those entrusted to my care is spending time in God's presence interceding for them, so I refer them to the Great Shepherd.
That doesn't mean I have been released from guard duty, but that I have recognized my need for help as I help them. The cool thing is, you don't have to shepherd hundreds to be able to do that. I know that Paul was talking to Timothy, and that we weren't even supposed to read that letter, but we have and now the words spoken to one centuries ago ring true for us as well.
So, if you shepherd a flock or a family, or both, take seriously your role to guard those entrusted to your care. Sometimes that means putting self aside. Sometimes it means letting them see your strengths. Sometimes it means letting them see your weaknesses. But all the time it means letting them see the Great Shepherd shepherding you as you guard them.