Fishermen and Shepherds

by - June 12, 2016

For days, the words "Fishermen and Shepherds" have been running through my mind.  My sometimes not-thinking-too-clearly mind as I have been recovering from my first international food sickness. I'm choosing to not blog details about that, but the struggle was real. But, feeling mostly well again thoughts now go back to fishermen and shepherds.

I recently got home from another time of training, in a new-to-me-country, and found again what I find almost everywhere we go: fishermen and shepherds who are sometimes hurting and overwhelmed. I've come to believe in large part, it is their perspective that overwhelms them.  A thought that somehow we must hold the anchor in place, instead of the reassurance that the Anchor holds us.  That our work must have certain results ...measurable with a yard stick.  This leaves open a temptation to despair that hurts. I can relate.  It is most often my perspective that opens the overwhelmed feelings in me. When I focus on needs (mine or others) and not on the Savior.  When I'm trying to measure success in numbers. When I find myself comparing or competing. When I'm trying to please man.  I always come up short of my own expectations; and others, many times, come up short of my expectations.  Maybe you are tempted to believe you are nailing it every time.  I promise we are both wrong.

According to our partner in this most recent country where we trained, only 0.08% of the whole population is evangelical Christian. He said there are more than 9,000 cities without the presence of a single Christian. Looking at the need, it is easy to get overwhelmed, especially as people are so reluctant to even talk about Jesus.  Evangelical Christians are literally seen as a cult, because it contradicts their religious heritage.  Following Christ changes people's lives, and most don't want their life to change. They live in a beautiful place.  They can even prefer to stay in their brokenness, rather than admit they need a Savior.  The beauty they live in can be deceptive and fleeting.

So who's responsibility is that?  If we believe it is the Holy Spirit who convicts and Jesus who saves, then the responsibility falls with them.  Our responsibility is simply (sometimes not so simply) to "go" and "tell" and "disciple."  And at the end of the day when we lay our head down to rest the only measure of success is did I honor the Lord with my words and actions today, right where He has me.  If I'm at home with my family, if I'm in another country, if I'm at work, if I'm on the road, or in the air.   Did I listen for His leading?  Did I do the hard work, and enjoy the sweet blessings, and follow Him into rest?  (So many are willing to do the hard work, but let a false guilt creep in when enjoying His blessings) Did I thank him?  Did I love others?  Did I rest in Him, speak boldly for Him, and trust fully in Him?  My responsibility, my success is never dependent on the life change of someone else. That part is not my doing.  My success is only dependent on my relationship with Jesus.  He is the decider.  He is the gracious measure.  His righteousness.  His leading.  His saving.  I'm only a jar of clay, His ambassador, His daughter. His devoted. Some days it's easier than others usually depends on my perspective.  He is always the same. I'm the one who changes.  I'm the one who gets distracted.

I'm at the airport now.  Beginning over 24 hours of airports and airplanes to the next place.  My Anchor is holding, unchanging.  As my altitude, time zone, and view change He remains. That's the only way I can do this.  Because I can't do this.  Maybe others would nail this without a second thought.  That is not me. But, I'm so thankful for every circumstance out of my control that draws me to trust Him more.  It's difficult and awesome.

Whatever situation(s) you face today, let Him anchor you.  In your family, in your relationships, in your work, in your ministry ...only through Him can you truly fulfill your purpose today.  How would He help you handle it? The better you know Him, the more you know your purpose and how to handle anything in life. The more you know the way through whatever you are going through. Difficult or awesome.

We had a little time to look around and capture some sights from this beautiful place.  Enjoying His blessing.

The tomb of Christopher Colombus. 

Lots of gold.

King Ferdinand of Ferdinand and Isabella. I love getting to see history come to life. My jaw likes to kind of hang open.

"Palace?  Whatevs."

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