From week to week I’m never too sure who’ll be ‘leading’ it. There’s the Godfather Jim Ford who usually comes in on Thursdays sometimes takes it. Then there’s the boss Danny Flynn who when he’s available pops in and shares something. In the absence of these fellows and on the rare occasion even when they are there muggins takes the session. They usually last about 15 to 20 minutes and involve a brief thought and opportunity for quiet contemplation and/or verbal expression of prayer.
Today’s was good. It’s usually good. The boss popped in and read Psalm 23 from the Message in the context of us living too busy lives and sometimes just needing to spend time in peace with God, knowing that he actually wants to spend time with us. As he read it my heart was stirred to rejoice again in the Lord who gives us rest. Such is the description of this shepherd that I was happy to take those moments of quiet contemplation. Well, as quiet as you can get with the tickly cough that I’m enduring. Now Danny had to nip off to another appointment and so left the session. People’s attention then reverted to me and yet I was more than happy to maintain the quiet contemplation aspect. So with eyes closed I mischievously said nothing literally hoping that the good shepherd would lead. And so he did as people just naturally drifted off into their work routine with no need for instruction … well, no need for much instruction, there were a few who took the initiative in my absence to suggest that if you want to go back to work you can.
The scenario got me thinking of two things. Firstly how much are we lead by the Spirit of God working within us and how much do people actually need to be lead by Spirit-led people? As I discover more and more about the call of God in my life I find myself believing more and more that as God acts He places us in positions to sow and water His Word in people’s lives that will lead them to experience Him and be lead by Him, however that comes about. Sometimes people do need to be lead, but even there the type of leading is sensitively done so people recognise God, not the vessel. The real challenge is to know how the Shepherd leads in various ways through various means, but also clearly – so there’s no need for doubt as He leads.
The second thing that I think of is how reading Psalm 23 always leads me to consider the Good Shepherd monologue of John 10 particularly verses 11-18 where the character of the Shepherd God loves is laid out to its sacrificial ends. So even if I am lead to lead others through teaching, praying, relating and encouraging the manner in which it’s done has to reflect the obedient, compassionate, sacrificial nature of the Good Shepherd.
No pressure, then.
For His Name’s Sake
da man cd