I am far from a shepherd. Even if I read and learned all about shepherding, I would never become one. It’s just not my thing. This is especially true of the shepherds we read about in the Scripture. For months they would live out in tents taking care of the sheep. We know from David that these shepherds would have to fight off dangerously wild animals to protect these sheep who could not protect themselves. Yeah, not for me. At the same time, taking care of sheep was a huge part of the economy during the Biblical times especially with all of the sacrifices that had to be made in addition to the need for food and clothing that came from sheep. It was an important job. It was certainly not high on the social ladder, but it was important.
So what would it take for shepherds to abandon their sheep? What would it take for them to leave their sheep unattended and unprotected? For these shepherds, it was an angelic host proclaiming the Good News that in the town of David, a Savior had been born. The angels began to sing as the glory of the Lord shone all around the shepherds. They sang,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
They left their sheep in the dark susceptible to the wild animals. Ok, ok, some of you will probably say that at least one shepherd stayed with the sheep. Maybe so, but the Scripture does not reflect that. But even if one stayed, there had been a reason for them to have as many shepherds as they did, and now for all but one to leave the sheep was a significant decision. There is no doubt that to some degree, they abandoned their sheep to go and find Jesus.
I wonder what you might need to abandon to go and find Jesus. Yes, yes, I know you know Jesus and you know that you can find Him by simply calling out His name, but what things are you doing now that keep you from taking the time or getting into the right mindset to go and find Jesus. What do you need to leave behind? Perhaps you are like the shepherds and you worry too much about your livelihood. You are afraid that some wild animals will come in and destroy your work or take your job so you stay. Perhaps, it is just the worries, the stress, the fear. Maybe, there is some pain, frustration, or anger that you need to abandon.
In the end I have to believe the shepherds felt that since the Lord had sent angels to them, then surely He would take care of the sheep. And I would say to you the Lord has called you to Him and He will surely take care of all of your responsibilities, anxieties, and frustrations if you will come to Him.
The strange thing about that stable where Christ was born is that it was not luxurious. It was not comfortable. I don’t even imagine it was a pleasant smell. Peaceful though is what it was. It was peaceful. The angels sang peace to men on whom his favor rests. His favor rests on those who abandon everything to be with the Savior, born unto us. Leave your sheep behind. God will take care of them. Go to Him and find peace.