Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Gentle Shepherd

  I love song lyrics, which is one reason I believe the kind of music you listen to matters. Secular songs can never do what Christian songs can do.

  One problem that I have, and I doubt I am alone in, is singing or listening to a song that is so familiar, I don't really think about the words, Sometimes I do. On my way to work this morning, the CD I was listening to had a very familiar song on it, and for some reason, I really thought about the words. The song was the Gaither song,  "Gentle Shepherd":

Gentle Shepherd come and lead us
for we need you to help us find our way
Gentle Shepherd come and feed us
for we need your strength from day to day

There's no other we can turn to
who can help us face another day

Gentle Shepherd come and lead us
for we need to you to help us find our way

  Those are nice words, and coupled with the music, it makes a nice song. But what does it mean to me?

  Jesus called Himself by many names, and one of those was shepherd. In John 10, He said that He is the Good Shepherd. I don't think it is a stretch to say a good shepherd would be gentle, hence the song.

  The more I realize how messed up my thinking has been, the more I am convinced that preachers should be more careful how they preach, and what they say. Too many preachers I heard growing up didn't talk about a Gentle Shepherd. The image they gave me was more of a cow herder complete with whip and lasso. Nothing gentle about that.

  When a sheep is heading in the wrong direction, the Good Shepherd may stick His staff in the way to discourage the sheep. If the sheep keeps going, He will let it go, but He will go after it, even if it means leaving the rest of the sheep that are safe in the fold.

 I always loved that picture of the Shepherd rescuing the sheep that had strayed and fallen over a cliff. That image of the Shepherd reaching down to rescue the sheep is so much more what God does, not at all what too many preachers have, and still preach. That God is a bully who is mad that we strayed and has to be begged to take us back. Who is waiting with a whip in hand to punish us for straying.

  God is not out to drive people to Him, whether they have strayed or never served Him at all. He isn't out to punish people, but to love us. To draw us to Him, not threaten or guilt us into a relationship with Him.

 The Gentle Shepherd lovingly watches over us and though He is grieved when we stray, the same Shepherd who would die for His sheep...... and DID die for His sheep, still loves us that much, He is my Shepherd, not a bully with a whip who will punish me for straying, No, He goes after us and welcomes us back. For He is the Gentle Shepherd, not a rough cow herder.

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