I’ve recently pondered the general call for “teachers.” When I read Carole’s tremendous story about Rudi the little goat, I understood that there could be something even deeper in it. In a way, we are called to be shepherds to our fellow man, in Christ. Then yesterday, I came to see even deeper than that, and it’s quite radical.*
A Shepherd Listens
I went to meet a young woman from my prayer-teams, who is precious to me. One of my jobs in the Prayer-House is to coordinate and oversee the teams, so I meet most of the staff from time to time for sharing. With this particular woman, the fact is that the one who learns from our talks is ME, and yesterday it was no different.
We shared about how much our personal concepts limit God’s move, and then she gave an example. At her church, she happened to meet and talk to a more or less unbelieving guest. She said that she always feels the pressure to use the moment and “evangelize,” but this time was strangely different. She said, “I felt Jesus coming into the room, and with sincere interest and deep empathy, He listened to this woman through me!”
This sentence felt like a slap in my face. I had realized and seen perfectly well that my God is a God beyond any human concepts. But I had never fully understood that the same is true for His Creation: People! After all, we’re created in His image, so we too are beyond concepts.
How many times would I already have a fixed idea about the person standing before me? How many times have I made a quick judgment (positive or negative) of someone, or put them in a box? How often do I have sincere interest in finding out who the person really is? How often do I actually ask for REVELATION?
Isn’t one a shepherd who KNOWS his sheep?
The Eyes and Heart of a Shepherd
Don’t let me be misunderstood here. A shepherd has a given flock and the animals know him and his voice, and run only after him…there is a duty and a relationship. And there are men and women in Christ who are called to be that for others in a very distinct way of knowing them, caring for them and discipling them. This is not what I’m talking about. I’m really considering how we display the general Shepherd aspect of Christ’s character.
John is just such a shepherd. You can see what I mean when you watch him with people. He shows selfless care for them and a deep interest in their lives. This is true for those who are special to him, like Martha, and also for those he’s just me, though differently. You must have the ability of “seeing beyond the surface” to be able to do that. It takes a deep understanding of the person, which only Jesus has and therefore only Jesus can give.
Can you imagine how different the world might be if we were ready to SEE every human we meet in HIM? It would change everything. And in the Church, this shepherding would grow such a BODY!
*Interestingly, “radical” comes from the Latin word for “root,” so it points to the root of the subject.