The Shepherd of Our Souls

The Lord is our shepherdPsalm 23:3,
"He restores my soul; He guides me on the paths of righteousness for His name's sake."
Today I had an eye-opening fellowship. I have been serving the Lord for a few years and regardless of how that looks like on the outside, in essence it's always about shepherding people. Throughout the years, I've been in the process of learning how to shepherd others. I'm learning to listen more, speak in a genuine way, offer practical help, be less rigid, more sympathetic, considerate, and the list continues. It's a true privilege to have this opportunity at my stage of life to labor with my fellow serving ones helping the young ones grow in the Lord.

It takes time to try shepherding someone's soul: to make them happy and warmed up. Of course, eventually the goal is to grant them spiritual nourishment not just to comfort them for the sake of comfort. Great learning, isn't it? But now the tables are turned, I must admit that I have not yet become a person who has no lack and no need. So when I'm in a situation where I need shepherding, then yes, I'd like some shepherding please. I guess this is just being honest but I do want to be made happy and comforted. Unfortunately, this pursuit of mine seems to head nowhere.

So I was told by a more mature believer today that oftentimes we are caught up in our own expectations to have our souls healed by somebody, and when that doesn't happen we would withdraw in discouragement and disappointment. She said, "We want to shepherd souls and we want our souls to be shepherded by others." Noble cause, fair longing. 

However, only the Lord is the Shepherd of our souls. The best way to shepherd and be shepherded is to lead others to touch the Lord Jesus and be led by others to the Shepherd Himself. She further continued, "We must learn to be well-pleasing only to Him (living to Him) and find our absolute satisfaction in the Lord. When we try to please other people and be satisfied elsewhere, our goose is cooked. In other words, we are finished."

Wow! I realize many times in shepherding someone, my foremost goal is to see that person happy and released from bondage. I exert efforts to find the solution, the relief. Sometimes I even feel heavy if I'm helpless, of no use to that particular one. We still pray together but I often forget that's when progress takes place - when we touch the Lord.

Also as I open to fellowship to receive help and shepherding, I must set aside my expectation to be comforted and healed and understood by others. This does not mean the Lord will not work through the ones we are fellowshipping with. He most likely will, but in ways we may not anticipate. Actually this is very profound. The key is to let go of what we think shepherding is and let God be the One shepherding us. After all there is no such thing as Shepherding 101 according to Katherine, there is only the shepherding according to God. 

Honestly I tend to recoil when told I need to live to the Lord especially in this matter of shepherding, mainly because that requires spiritual exercise - strength and supply. Nevertheless just like our human body, exhaustion is usually not caused by physical exercise per se but the lack thereof. Today I'm comforted that I can just keep practicing living to the Lord, eating the spiritual diet (the Word of God), and letting the Shepherd do the rest in my personal life and my Christian church life.

He restores our souls and guides us on the paths of righteousness. Any path that leads us back to our Shepherd reserves all the glory for His name.  

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