Luke 2:[8] And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. [9] And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. [10] And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. [11] For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. [12] And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” [13] And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

[14] “Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

[15] When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” [16] And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. [17] And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. [18] And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. [19] But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. [20] And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Luke 2:20 – “And the shepherds returned…”. What an amazing statement. They have had a visit from angels. They have been told, before anyone else other than Jesus family, about the birth of the Messiah. They have seen the long promised deliverer of the people. And they return back to the hills to tend their sheep? How many church ministries or prominent well known church leaders would recommend such an action?

When you have a life changing encounter with God; when you have met the Messiah; when you have witnessed the most glorious event in the history of the world, it is hardly appropriate to tell a few people and then go back home – especially if home is a flock of stupid, wandering, stinking sheep. No, one does not go home. One goes on the road. One demands to be heard. One broadcasts the Gospel to all who will give ear. But one will not go back home. That would be a waste of information. Why do you think God gave you the privilege of meeting this Messiah in the first place? What a mistake that was.

But it wasn’t a mistake. And the shepherds did the right thing. And we should follow their example.

Not every encounter with God is a call for us to start a new ministry, find a soap box to announce the new work that God is doing through us or even enter an official ministry at all. It may be no more than an opportunity to go back home and influence the corner of the world where God has placed you.

We have had an encounter with God and God does call us to do something as a result. For most of us it is to follow the good example of these ancient shepherds. We are called to go back home with the praise of God in our hearts and on our lips and live a life for the glory of God.

We do not know the name of any of these shepherds. We never hear of them in Scripture again. We all want to do something big for God. We would like to be famous, write the soul stirring book, have people clamour to hear our insights into Scripture, be responsible for the conversion of thousands of repentant souls. But the primary call upon all believers, even the famous, is to do what these shepherds did – to go home glorifying and praising God.

Cultivate faithfulness.

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