Deserts of Africa – Jan./Feb. 2014: Day 6

02 Feb

IMG_6616Jesus said in John 10:11, I am the Good Shepherd the good shepherd lays down his life for His sheep.  It’s no accident that when Jesus was born, the very first people who heard the news of the newborn King were shepherds.  Being a shepherd wasn’t the most prestigious job, but rather one of lowly order; and yet in the Kingdom, they are seen as servants of God.  The shepherds returned, after having seen the Christ Child born, praising God and proclaiming all that they had seen and heard.

I am reminded with every opportunity I am given to walk among our people group, the B People, the reality that they need to know the Good Shepherd.  Today, we divided up into smaller teams with the women getting in the homes to take part in the everyday livelihood around the home with the B women.  The guys divided out and engaged the shepherds throughout the community.  I found myself in the afternoon standing in the middle of a sheep pen watching two young shepherd boys corralling the sheep.  We stopped to observe and also try our  hand at feeding sheep.

IMG_6614Many sheep just like these will be sacrificed on the various eids that this culture celebrates, particularly the Eid-al Adha, or Festival of Sacrifice, signifying God’s provision of a sacrifice with Abraham. The catch, though, is that the B People find themselves having descended from the line of Ishmael and not through the line of Isaac, and thus finding their fulfillment of promise through Ishmael.  We found many opportunities throughout this trip to point them back to the promise that God made to Abraham, through Isaac, and ultimately seeing this promise, through sacrifice fulfilled in Christ, the Good Shepherd.

Personally for me, this day brought forth a reminder that I needed to take on the humility and servanthood ofIMG_6611 the Good Shepherd. These shepherd boys with whom we interacted weren’t the main caretakers of the sheep we found ourselves among.  Other obligations pulled this reputable shepherd away from his duties and he turned those over to these boys for the day.  I began to find myself discouraged by the fact that the shepherd we had come to visit wasn’t available to talk.  While we didn’t get to share with him, we did get to share with a neighbor of one of our partners, using the story of the Prodigal Son.

As we reflected on our day later in the evening, God reminded me through His word that my role is to be faithful to serve wherever He might place me.  For whatever reason, we were supposed to reflect to these boys Christ’s love, the love of the Good Shepherd, and ultimately the love of a Father who received his son or ‘lost sheep’ back into his fold.  I, too, am like that lost sheep who needed to be rescued and brought into the fold.  I need to reminded time and again that God ordains my words and with whom I share.  The Gospel is Good News and needs to be proclaimed without hindrance, knowing that all appointments of proclamation, whether scheduled or not, are seen as divinely orchestrated by the Good Shepherd.

May we learn to serve the One who came to serve and give His life as a ransom for many lost sheep like you and me.

Written by Ryan


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