Bad Shepherds, Good Sheep

The shepherds at those tidings
Rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding,
In tempest, storm, and wind,
And went to Bethlehem straightway
This blessed babe to find
O tidings of comfort and joy,
comfort and joy!
O tidings of comfort and joy

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is probably my favorite Christmas song ever.  I especially enjoy Jars of Clay‘s rendition, but most artists these days when tackling a classic song tend to let a few verses fall on the cutting room floor.  The above verse is one not often remarked, recorded, or refrained these days.

Truth be told, we don’t know who even wrote this incredible song.  It is first accounted for within a collection of carols from the 18th century.  Still, this verse gives me pause to stop and think for a moment.

The tidings at which they were rejoicing, are those which we have recorded in Luke 2: 8-20

The part that gets me.  The part that I think can be so eye opening for you and I is that they left straight away. Luke 2:16 says, “They hurried off…”.  There was no debate.  They didn’t need a committee of scholars to help them determine, judge, or interpret the objective message delivered by divinity’s messenger.  He spoke.  They obeyed; and with what would seem to be little regard for their well-being, livelihood, and possessions.

It is a sad fact, and horrible commentary, on the state of faith within our generation that we do not react to the Good News of the Gospel with the same fervency shown by the shepherds.  The truth is, we are more concerned with being good shepherds than we are with being good sheep.

Instead, let us learn first to obey, regardless of the cost to self, and then let others follow.  Anything less is tantamount to the blind leading the blind.  I’m convinced that God is more interested in good sheep than in good shepherds.


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