BUV Devotion Part 2
Remember Who You Are: God’s Flock
by Rev Mark Wilkinson
I’ve always been a city slicker spending my life in the suburbs of Melbourne, Adelaide & Sydney. A couple of years ago, my family spent a week on a farm in northern New South Wales. It is a mixed farm with grain as well as raising beef cattle and sheep. It was illuminating in so many ways. The patience of the grain-grower in waiting for a harvest. (And the two years since we were there have been in the drought without much crop at all.) Herding cattle was fun though you learnt to watch the bulls carefully! One time I had to ride the quad bike out to the far-reaches of the property to see if any sheep had wandered off and were alone and needing help to get back to the flock. I couldn’t help but think of the heavenly shepherd who seeks the lost sheep – and he can do it without a quad bike!
The thought of the Lord being our shepherd is rich in Scripture. Nearly all of us know Psalm 23 with its personal opening, “The Lord is my shepherd” and the promises around provision, protection, preparation and presence. How comforting it is to remember that the Shepherd is with us through these times; not even isolating in our homes can keep this Shepherd away! And we equally familiar with Jesus’ words from John’s Gospel, “I am the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11) We’ve been thinking about his sacrifice at Easter.
It’s easy to bring personal reflection to these scriptures but we should also be considering these from the corporate perspective of being God’s flock together. The Psalmist says to the assembly, “for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.” (Ps. 95:7). To think of God as the good shepherd is also to remind ourselves that we belong to a flock also. In this time of isolation it’s all the more tempting to just apply the Scriptures individually but we are the church corporately, the flock under his care. How are the other sheep in your flock doing? How can you make sure you are intentionally gathering with the flock in these times of isolation? If you are a church leader, how can you be “shepherding the flock” as Peter instructed? (1 Peter 5:2) It will mean more than livestreaming content! It must mean finding ways to still connect with the flock.
COVID-19 doesn’t change the reality of who we are – we are still God’s flock! It just changes the way we gather and minister. In these times… Remember who you are.
For reflection: Jesus said, “My sheep listen for my voice” (John 10:27) Might there be something that Jesus wants to say to you at this time? Have the posture of young Samuel who said, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:10)
For prayer: Pray for those in your world who seem to have wandered away from God. Ask the Good Shepherd to pursue that ‘lost sheep’. Is He calling you to do something also?
For action: Is there another person in your ‘flock’ who you could reach out to and check in on?
I hope you find this devotion and the discussion questions useful. We look forward to distributing Part 3 next Tuesday.
Rev Mark Wilkinson
Church Health Consultant