I had this thought tonight as I sit on this Christmas Eve and think on the birth of Jesus. What an experience it must have been for the town people of Bethlehem to not only hear about the birth of Jesus but actually see the infant within moments of His birth. I've heard the story so many times and the emphasis is always on the actual birth, the denial at the inn, the manger, the wise men, even the animals. But, I rarely hear anything about the people in the town. So, I went back and read the passage as I wanted to make sure that my memory was serving me correctly.
Luke 2:8-10;15-18: "8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.....15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them."
The angels went and appeared to the shepherds out in the field. These shepherds were out minding their business. Doing their job. On assignment, working in their natural ability. What a blessing they received in that the angels came down to them and presented them with an opportunity to share in a once in a lifetime occasion. Here is where I hear the voice of Pastor Glen Jenkins to the City of Refuge in Manassas, VA - Do Your Job!!! Many of us miss opportunities because we step outside of the lane we've been assigned. We are trying to do everything else when all God wants of us is for us to do what He ordained us to do. Shepherds are to watch over their flock and ensure that nothing happens to them. It isn't coincidence that shepherds came to visit the MIGHTY good shepherd. Nothing just happens. I believe God was showing us that He wants all of us to know Jesus, intimately. So intimately, that it sparks a change in us and we go on and tell others about Jesus. These shepherds established their own relationship with Jesus first ("when they had seen him") then went on and spread the good news ("they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child").
We must first take the time and gain an intimate relationship with Jesus. I am reminded of Apollos (Acts 18:24-26 "24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor[a] and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately."). Take the time and garner a relationship with Christ first before you run and go tell someone about Jesus.
Our first encounter with Jesus should be as innocent as this one. We should come to Him humbly not expecting anything but marveling in all that He is. These shepherds put down their tasks, issues, worries, problems. They left their jobs and families to go see this miracle. When will we do the same? When will we put down all the issues, problems, tasks, job responsibilities, and go see about Jesus and marvel in His being???
This holiday season as you exchange gifts, take time and have an intimate encounter with Christ.
Be A Blessing and Not Just Blessed
- - Nakya