He makes me lie down in green pastures…
In his most famous Psalm, David reflects on God as his shepherd. We are his sheep of his pasture (Ps. 100:3). I’d like to reflect on the second verse and what it means for those of us in ministry.
A shepherd needs to lead his sheep to find fresh green grass everyday. Once sheep graze in an area, it becomes barren for a while. Thus, the shepherd must search for a new place with green pastures. A website on the duties of a modern-day shepherd writes:
As the sheep eat all the forage in an area, the shepherd will move both the sheep and his living quarters to fresh range. In most cases, the shepherd and his dogs will move the sheep out to fresh grazing each day and bring them back to bed down in the same area each night.
This takes effort on the part of the shepherd to find new sources of food for his sheep. God is like that. He finds us green pastures to graze on daily. But sheep are dumb and prone to wandering. So sometimes, he needs to “make us lie down”. David Pawson, noted Bible teacher, once said that sheep’s legs need to be tied down to make it stay put in that pasture to feed. Let us thank God as our shepherd who feeds us daily. He knows exactly what we need if we let him lead us to “green pastures”. Don’t be angry if you’re “made to lie down”!
As ministers and shepherds of our flock, we need to bring our people to fresh green pastures. We have to work at preparing sermons that are not recycled or copied from some others. As we know our sheep, we love them and want the best for them to feed on. It will get harder to churn out new material every time but for their sake, let us do it! Remember that we are merely stewards of God’s flock and are accountable to the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4).
As a shepherd we have to speak some hard truths to our sheep. We have to “make them lie down” whether they like it or not. It takes courage and gentleness to teach the doctrines of God consistently and faithfully. Your congregation may not thank you but you know that is exactly what they need to thrive spiritually.