Joy and Faithfulness; December 25, 2022

Luke 2:20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

There’s a little chorus, part of a longer cantata, that sets the first part of this verse to music, and I can’t read this without that running through my head. There are two things that stand out to me about this verse. The first is that the shepherds were overjoyed that everything was exactly as the angel had said, capping an overall miraculous experience. I can only imagine their level of joy, but I would think that anyone with even a little bit of spiritual sensitivity would react much the same way. The other thing, however, is that they returned, they went back to what they had been doing, as was their responsibility. Encounters with God are supposed to change us, but they seldom erase our other responsibilities. Everything God does has a purpose, and we need to be looking out for what that purpose is, to better participate in its fulfillment. Frankly, there is joy in doing and being what God intends. The shepherds doubtless remembered and talked about their encounter with the angels for the rest of their lives, and that was something God intended, to give other people faith and hope. However, God also intended that they be faithful shepherds of the flocks entrusted to them, to keep them from harm and deliver them to the temple as called for. God doesn’t want us to be “so heavenly minded we’re no earthly good,” as has been said. We are to rejoice, and we are to be faithful. If we do that, God will be pleased and glorified.

This certainly applies to me. As I was driving around this morning to bless the churches in our city, the Lord pointed out to me that if I really trusted Him fully, I wouldn’t get so tied in knots over the busyness of Christmas. Last night was a good case in point. It was a very busy event with a lot of people, and that’s not my forte. However, the Lord anointed me and carried me along, and things went very well indeed. We did have non-Christians present, one of whom I have no idea how he knew about the service, and both of them seemed very impressed and moved by what they saw and experienced here. One said he would be back this morning, and I need to trust God with that as well. I have learned the hard way that I can’t convince anyone of the truth of the Gospel in my own wisdom, but God can indeed, and wants to, use my words to get the job done. I’m not to be uptight about anything, but allow the Holy Spirit to carry me along and speak and act through me, so that God’s will may be done on His schedule for His glory.

Father, thank You indeed for all You did last night. Thank You also for carrying us through the family Christmas time we had in the morning. I pray that all of Your purposes for today may be fulfilled, that we may recognize Your schedule and follow it with joy, for the blessing of all involved and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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