Something that God has really laid on my heart lately is that He is the one who does the work when it comes to changing hearts and lives. Try as I might, I can never truly bring someone to a relationship with Christ. Sure, God may use me. But ultimately, it’s all Him.
As I was reading through some old journal entries, I found one from about a month ago that was based off of 1 Peter 5:2:
“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve.”
I had asked God how I could best be a shepherd of His flock. Naturally, I wanted to please God and do the right thing. I wanted to see people come into a relationship with Him through my work and through my great “shepherding”.
But I missed the big picture.
It wasn’t about me.
“You hand them over to Me,” He responded. “I take care of them best. Yes, I use you, but sometimes you need to just entrust them to My care.”
What a hard lesson to learn!
Look back at that verse. “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care…” Not everyone in the world could possibly be under my care. There’s no way I could lead and watch over that many sheep! And more importantly, we are told to be a shepherd “not because you must, but because you are willing…” Sometimes I think my motives are a lot more innocent than they really are. Am I really trying to share Jesus because I earnestly desire for their lives to be changed and their hearts to fall in love with Him? Or am I just trying to check something off of a list, maybe to be seen as a “good Christian” in God’s eyes (or even the world’s)?
I’ve been really humbled this week by the fact that I can never measure up. I can never be good enough or perfect enough to earn God’s love or grace. It’s given to me freely. In fact, to try to earn it discredits the Cross. Look at what Paul says in Galatians 5:4:
“You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.”
What I’ve learned about being a good shepherd is actually quite relevant. If I try to win people over for Christ in my own strength, I’m making it about me. If I’m evangelizing and making disciples with the hidden motive of getting God to love me or be pleased with me more, I’m making it about me. And if I make it about me, what good does any of it do?
Sometimes being a successful shepherd means realizing someone is a way better shepherd than you. And God is the ultimate Shepherd!