1. Have you ever really been truly scared over something you saw or heard that caused you to literally "shake in your boots?"
2. What would it take to make you leave your job or other important task and go to a place to go where something extra ordinary had taken place?
3. What kind of "gossip" would it take to send you running to a neighbor or friend to tell it?
Scriptures to consider: Luke 2:8-20
CONSIDER THIS, that it was just these kinds of questions that were answered by a group of shepherds who were WATCHING over the sheep on a hillside outside of Bethlehem on a certain night over 2000 years ago. Their responsibility was the WATCHCARE of a flock that they owned or that someone had given into their care. They were to WATCH for anything that would endanger those sheep, to provide a WATCH for good pasture and water to meet the needs of the flock.
In the midst of this task perhaps they had the occasion at night to gaze into the heavens and wonder at the vastness of it all. Maybe as they looked, they even wondered about their purpose in the whole of creation's existence, or perhaps they just took life a day at a time, with no idea of their importance in creation's movement. Which ever, their WATCHING on that certain night took on a significance they could not have dreamed!
Angels appeared in the sky and caused them to quake in fear, falling to their faces. Then came the words, "Don't be afraid!" Can you imagine their reaction? Put yourself in their sandals. Maybe they were thinking what I thought when I read it. "Yeah, sure. That's easy for you to say!" Then the news that was shared about a king, born in a stable, laying in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes. The information did not jive with their limited knowledge of kings and their births. They knew stables, and mangers, and swaddling clothes, and this information did not fit with kings and palaces, and such an announcement certainly not given to lowly shepherds!
Now, these shepherds did, in spite of their fear, respond to follow the directions given by the angels, to leave their flocks and seek the new born king, and having found Him, they WORSHIPPED! The results of their WATCHING was WORSHIP, and it was not confined to the stable. Their coming and sight of the Lord proclaimed by the angel led to worship before the Child and was continued as they returned to their flocks. They praised and glorified God for the things that were revealed and that they experienced.
True WORSHIP is not just done when one enters the church building, or stable, as the case may be, for service to others and God has WORSHIP as its base root meaning. Their actions challenge our times and places of humility before the Lord in WORSHIP. Their coming and sight of the Lord fueled their WORSHIP's continued activity as they went back to work with the flock. The question for us is, "when we have left our work to come to worship, do we return to work and continue to worship, or have we left it behind at the church's door?" The shepherds challenge us to come and WORSHIP and then, having done so, return to our tasks with new habits of praise that glorify God through what we do and say.
Now, the WATCHERS turned WORSHIPPERS are given a new task to perform within the context of their normal work as shepherds. They were to become WITNESSES of all they had seen as it had been revealed to them. They were to be spreaders of the good news they had WITNESSED. They were to "gossip" the "gospel" message. And they did so!
The question now is - Have we as WATCHERS seen God anew today? Have we truly WORSHIPPED Him Whose truth is revealed? Are we going to go in that spirit of WORSHIP and WITNESS what we have seen and heard, as it has been revealed to us?
It is OUR ROAD TO BETHLEHEM. May we travel it faithfully, just as the shepherds did!
Be encouraged today as you move on this road.