God loves the foreigner, the outcast, and the forgotten. He collects the worn-out vagabonds that nobody else wants. They can be part of the club. Though they’re down and out, they can be up and in. Aren’t you glad?
How can we be sure? Check this out —–>“That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly an angel appeared among them, and the landscape shone bright with the glory of the Lord. They were badly frightened, but the angel reassured them.” (Luke 2:8-9, TLB).
Shepherds were often the outcasts of society. They were sometimes young. It wasn’t a glamorous position. Remember what David’s Dad said about him? “Oh yeah, there’s one other brother that just watches the sheep”, Jesse told the prophet Samuel when he came hunting for the next King of Israel.
Shepherds were sometimes criminals, sex offenders, thieves- the cast-offs of society- people pushed to the outskirts of the villages to watch the flocks. They stank like the animals they cared for, an easy way to identify them, should they mingle with civilians. Some of them were girls. In this account there is more than one shepherd. They may have been all together in the same place or separated by distance and they came together at the birth scene of Christ. Look at them now as they come out of the darkness into the light.
The shepherds were poor. They just brought themselves. They were not like the wisemen later on the story who brought Jesus Gold, Frankincense and Myhr. This was a night they would talk about for the rest of their lives. Imagine their grandchildren saying, “Tell us again about the night the angels appeared and you saw Jesus!”
Maybe you’re not a shepherd. But chances are your job isn’t always exciting. Perhaps sometimes everyday feels like Monday. Or perhaps you have great responsibility and feel like you’re the only one who can get the job done.
Wherever you are today, if you’ll just look up, there are stars. God put them everywhere so that wherever we go, we’ll still be able to look up and be reminded of His wisdom and beauty.
Not only is there beauty in the world, there is beauty in the Word. The scriptures that is. If only this story alone were recorded, you’d be rich. The fact that God appeared once to such a group of unlikely recipients should encourage all of us. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you the most joyful news ever announced, and it is for everyone! The Savior- yes, the Messiah, the Lord- has been born tonight in Bethlehem! How will you recognize him? You will find a baby wrapped in a blanket, lying in a manger!” WoW! How awesome is that. Some two thousand years later, God is still packaging great things in small bundles, but never one as great as that one. That small bundle of greatness rocked the entire world when he was unwrapped on the cross. “Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.” Matthew 27:54
Then look what happened. I like the phrase, “….And there was the baby, lying in the manger.” (Luke 2:16, TLB) Simple words pregnant with wonder! Can you imagine? Not just any old baby, but baby Jesus!
But the next part is one of the best. “Then the shepherds went back again to their fields and flocks, praising God for the visit of the angels, and because they had seen the child, just as the angel had told them.” (Luke 2:20, TLB). The point? There are some people, even shepherds, who believe unless you can quote the bible inside and out or go to the mission field or start a homeless mission or give $10,000 a year to the church, you aren’t doing much. You may be a Christian, but you’re not on fire. Then again, according to some, chances are you’re probably not a Christian. If you were, you’d be going to Seminary or Calcutta or signing up to volunteer at church. Does that mean we shouldn’t do any of these things? Absolutely not! The point is, our salvation doesn’t come from what we do, it comes from what Jesus has done. There’s really no evidence that the shepherds did anything but go back and watch their sheep….back to the mundane….back to sitting under the stars….back to living outside the village. Are you there yet?
Don’t underestimate your value because you don’t live in the limelight. You may not have a platform, but that doesn’t mean you’re not playing a significant role. Our bodies can live without noses and eyes, but it dies without a heart or a liver. Wherever you are, the value you add is greater than you could ever imagine. You make a difference whether you’re a missionary or a mechanic. And when strangers or your grandchildren come along and ask you to tell them a story, tell them about Luke 2 and how it changed your life. Remember, there’s nothing ordinary about ordinary.
Better yet, why not share your experience right now on Facebook or Twitter?