As the Shepherd continues to lead in “paths of righteousness,” I must not lag behind but keep close to Him to see where He is leading.
But I see other places. “Lord, that looks good.”
To the sheep, He says, “That is not what I have planned for you ~ I have something better.”
As we continue, I hear voices calling from different directions. They speak louder than the Shepherd, promising help and success.
The Still Small Voice
This new stage is like no other. For fifty-nine years, I learned to listen to one human voice my Father had given me on this earth. Now, He is teaching me to hear clearly only His “still small voice” in the middle of this wilderness, through His Word and prayer. I understand why the apostle Paul directed the early church to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing and to give thanks in all things” (1 Thess. 5:16-18).
“From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised.” Psalm 113:3
Outdated and Vulnerable
In any weak moment, there is a temptation for me to give in to the flesh and say, “I can’t do it anymore. I am too old. I am outdated and vulnerable to every influence I hear and see.” I am beginning to understand what Jerry meant when he said he had lived past his expiration date.
Having just come out of quarantine ~ my daughter and her family had COVID (grateful they were mild cases) ~ I desire to go forward ~ to know and do “the will of the Father.”
From watching motivational videos this past week, I agree, if I want glory to my own name, I can go for it and succeed. I still have enough zeal to achieve whatever I set my mind and heart toward. But I learned years ago, as a full-time caregiver, true success comes only through a life of humility.
“Humility is the bedrock of true success.”
We can set our own goals and achieve whatever we want but we fall short of what God can do in and through us. His plans, His presence, and power are seeded in the life of His children who are zealous for the work of His kingdom ~ those who are about “the Father’s business.” We are still dust in the hands of our Creator. Dirt cannot think of what it can accomplish. It can only “be still” with what is planted ~ and wait. It cannot even cherish the seed.
The seed is fed and watered, and the life in the seed breaks through the shell, sends roots downward, and stems upward looking for the light from which it was planted. It blooms and bears the fruit of the seed planted. The plant becomes the life in the dirt that glorifies the gardener. Eventually, the dirt is no longer seen but covered over becoming one with the plant. The plant glorifies the gardener and the dirt is enriched to grow more fruit.
Branches of the True Vine
Jesus teaches how we bear fruit as branches from His life in John 15. This, too, is a lesson on humility. We can do nothing without Him, but if we abide in Him and He abides in us, we will bear much fruit (John 15:5).
By His grace, in the hands of the Gardener, we are fruitful even through old age.
Whether I think of being a sheep, a branch, or plain dirt, His Spirit and His Word are my motivation to remain humble and focused upon the Shepherd to lead me and the Gardener to do His work in me. Abiding and Fruitful is my goal for 2021 ~ to live passionately for Christ and die humble.
Gracious Father, hallowed be thy name in all the earth. Let us give unto you the glory due unto your name. Let us worship you in the beauty of holiness; fear before you with all the earth. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in us for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.