Weekly E-votional - More Than A Hired Hand
May 5 - 10, 2003


"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

John 10:11 (NRSV)


   Hurt was not the word, pain was closer. Mind you, I have known pain in my life, physical, emotional, but haven't we all? This particular week offered nothing to suggest the pain I was in store for. Sure, folks teasingly remarked about how sore I would be, but there was nothing to prepare me for what was in front of me. Was off to take part in a cattle drive. The first day, we learned the ropes, how to brand, to tack and saddle, saddle up and get down from the horse, ride, and drive cattle. The first day was easy, but it was the second day that things began to change. After a sore ride and sore seat, my attention began to change from watching the cattle to guarding the pain in my hips, seat, knees and ankles. I was not a hired hand, put a paying customer, and I knew it. The cattle were not "really" my responsibility, were they? When cattle would wander off, the trail boss would go after the cattle, even that crooked horned longhorn, that we all developed special thoughts for (hamburger thoughts). We, as paying customers, were able to take as much a role as we wanted or as little of a role as we wanted. Later on in the week it hit me, much like a theological stampede. I am not even a hired hand. The passion, skill-set, ability, accountability, and responsibility necessary to be a hired hand was not there. Then the title of Boss, Good Shepherd came to mind. Not even close.

   Hear the Good News, there is but one Good Shepherd and that is Jesus Christ. As the Good Shepherd (Ps 23), He left it all for you, when you wandered off. While retrieving you, he did not have any other thoughts other than compassion and love. While on my trip, I became keenly aware of who I was in relationship to the herd of cattle, a customer, and Christ, in His ministry, understood who He was in relationship to the world, His flock. "I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd." (Jn 10:16) No one is to be left behind, they are all His, we are all His. It is this same passion and love for us, His flock, that he paid the ultimate price in order that we might be saved, His life. I mean this much to Christ, if you mean this much to Christ, shouldn't we all respect one another and love one another with all we have? Shouldn't we move out of the mindset of being the hired hand of God, or even, dare I say, the paying customer of God? Ministry is about so much more than just "doing your job". Ministry is about relationships, service and love. Ministry and being one of the flock is about going out of our way to help another. 1 John 3:17 poses the question "How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?" This is the question that should dwell within us this week. This question can help us face our role in the flock, the cattle drive and/or life. Am I a Shepherd, a hired hand, or a paying customer.


   Gracious God, You laid down Your life for me, that I might not be lost.  You sought me out and found me.  ME!  Turn my heart over to Your service, that I might be more than a paying customer, more than a hired hand, but a shepherd of Your flock.  Instill in me the passion, love and grace for such an endeavor and privilege. Thank You for all you have done in my life and all you will continue to do, for I come to You through Jesus Christ, my Lord, my Savior! Amen.

Grace & Peace

David Banks
Tatum United Methodist Church
PO Box 1070
Tatum, TX 75691
(903) 947-2401


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