The Shepherd’s Staff – October 25, 2013

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One of the most frustrating things I can think of is being expected to do something without having the necessary skills, equipment, or opportunities to do the job.  Nothing can create as much stress and tension in our lives than knowing that we are inadequate in some way for the task before us.

Anxiety and tension develop when we begin to assume responsibility for matters which were never intended to be left up to us.  When Paul instructed the Philippians not to worry about anything, he knew their natural inclination was to become anxious in the face of difficulty.  The Lord’s exhortation to them and to us today, is to “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).

Nothing we can do will alleviate the inadequacies in our spiritual lives.  Jesus Himself said that “Apart from Me you can do nothing.”  The greatest mystery for most of us is why we have ever thought that we have sufficient resources to accomplish what is possible only through Christ.

Until we learn to wait on the Lord, we will forever be running ahead of Him and finding ourselves continually befuddled by the messes we make of the simplest tasks He give us.  David wrote in Psalm 62 some words of great encouragement for those of us who seem to live in a constant state of turmoil:  “My soul waits in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation.  He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken” (62:1·2).

The problem arises for me when I am challenged by some problem which is obviously beyond my ability.  In my zeal to be available to the Lord, I jump right in and try to solve things myself without waiting to see what He needs to do in me to prepare me for the work to be done.

Then, when I fail I become discouraged and frustrated, convinced that I have blown the opportunity to honor Christ.  To be honest, I am often more concerned about how I appear in the eyes of those who witnessed the failure than with my testimony for Christ. Such discouragement leads to anxiety the next time an opportunity to serve arises and I make myself a little less available than before fearing that I may fail again.images

If this cycle is not broken, we can become paralyzed in our service to the Master, the Lord Jesus Christ.  We have to learn to put each situation into the hands of the Lord as it comes to us–and to do that without bothering to figure out how to resolve it ourselves first.

In Psalm 62:8, David goes on to say, “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.”

As we pour out our hearts to Him, we will leave nothing in them to produce the kind of frustration each of us has known in those “trying times” of our lives.  Then we will find that He alone is perfectly sufficient for all things.  Whatever He brings to us, we can address with confidence and great assurance knowing that He will be “my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken” (62:6).

One thought on “The Shepherd’s Staff – October 25, 2013

    Michael said:
    October 25, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Comforting – and challenging – words. Thank you, Pastor

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