Oh, dear shepherd leaders, how we want to “be the boss” of ourselves, rather than letting The Good Shepherd lead, guide, and direct our lives. This blog by Dan Wolgemuth, the shepherd-President of Youth for Christ/USA, says it all. May you read his thoughts with an open heart…
Nick Parker was a friend of our boys during a season in our lives when we lived in Franklin, Tennessee. He lived about a block from our house, and would often wander our way to play in our cul-de-sac, or down by a small pond behind our home. Nick was athletic, even as a first grader, and possessed an iron will to match.
On one occasion at our home, his will flashed out in full defiance of something I had instructed him not to do. I’m not sure exactly what the line was that he crossed, but he didn’t tiptoe across it, he blasted through it with full intent. Upon which I scolded him for his attitude and behavior.
With eyes in full contact, Nick looked at me and announced, “You’re not the boss of me.” And with that, he stormed off.
I remember seeing the stunned look in the eyes of my two boys, for whom I was the boss. They marveled at the unfettered boldness, and recoiled at the lack of respect at the same time.
“The boss of me.”
In fact, Nick’s brash retort echoes against the walls of my own behavior patterns. I live, more politely and less confrontationally, as the boss of me. I possess and exercise a measured self-confidence that helps me navigate through most of the situations that I encounter.
Perhaps this is why King David, in one of his most familiar Psalms, employs language that speaks to every Nick Parker moment in my life. Moments like the ones that we are living through right now. COVID-19 moments.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters. (Psalm 23:1-2, ESV)
The Lord. My shepherd. The Good Shepherd… MAKES ME, lie down.
Because He cares for me and for the flock, He knows that “lying down” is not optional. And He knows, that because I am prone to want to be my own shepherd… I will wander my way into exhaustion, frustration, danger and destruction.
So… He Makes Me.
For the past several months, with growing urgency, He has made every lamb on the globe, “lie down.”
This vivid reminder is not a declaration that a global pandemic is the boss of me, but rather, it exposes the fragile underbelly of my baseless self-reliance.
Even as governments and economies and cultures struggle to regain their footing, God provides a rod. And a staff… as a comfort.
To guide us. To direct us. To alter our direction away from our misplaced self-confidence.
Against the culture of fierce individualism and rampant arrogance… He makes me. He makes us…
“To lie down.”
Because we wouldn’t, He does. Because I refuse, He compels.
And there. In the spot where I stop my tail-chasing pursuit, my soul is restored. By Him. By my shepherd. By the God who knows every one of us by name.
Yes indeed… He made us lie down.