Jul20TueJuly 20, 2021
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The reason a shepherd carries a rod and staff is to protect the vulnerable ones nearby. We may not be shepherds with a field of sheep, but most everyone has someone nearby that needs some help. Do you see some similarities to a good shepherd that can apply to each person today?
The good shepherd kept a lookout for sheep that were being attacked. Sadly, many people are victimized repeatedly and don’t have anyone watching out for them.
The most vulnerable could be those that are still in the womb. Of those that are born, over 20,000 babies each year suffer from addictions and opiate withdrawal. It’s estimated that at least 1 in 7 children in the US has experienced child abuse and/or neglect in the past year. Now as adults, these abused children struggle with disorders affecting their whole way of living. I wish it all would stop in adulthood, but unfortunately, about 1 in 10 adults over age 60 are also abused, neglected, or financially exploited.
The good shepherd would get involved and does whatever it takes to change the destructive situation or help heal the injury. If it took using his rod and staff, the priority was clear to help the needy.
“I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy.” (Psalm 140:12) “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” (Isaiah 1:17)
There are others that we can help even if we never meet them. Many children are forced to flee their homes due to natural and man-made disasters. One way First Mennonite helps is to assemble and send school kits around the world. Over the years, thousands and thousands have been distributed in lands far away. If this interests you, talk with Linda Neuhauser soon. August 5th will be this year’s school kits packing day! She is ready to lead this year and train a new person to carry on this impactful ministry.
When we see the needs all around and count our many blessings, God hopes that we act like Jesus, the great shepherd.
Hebrews 13:20-21 “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.