23 Know well the condition of your flocks,
and give attention to your herds,
24 for riches do not last forever;
and does a crown endure to all generations?
25 When the grass is gone and the new growth appears
and the vegetation of the mountains is gathered,
26 the lambs will provide your clothing,
and the goats the price of a field.
27 There will be enough goats’ milk for your food,
for the food of your household
and maintenance for your girls.
Father, help us today to apply these verses to Your people whom we have been given to lead and to serve. Help us remember that anything that they might bring us should be regarded as far less of a priority than what we are called to offer to them. While we cannot deny the recent history wherein pastors and church leaders have fleeced Your flocks, let us never move an inch toward that deadly notion in our own hearts. Cause us to remember that those who hear us today are sheep that belong to Another, to the Good Shepherd, to King Jesus. Help us take our gentle time with the reluctant ones. Helps us to have a skillful hand with the stubborn ones. When goats come and mingle near the lambs, give us care to prevent those goats from stealing the sheep’s food or irritating the flock. Above all, Father, ensure that the food we supply to Your flock is healthy and that we provide it in ways that they may eat and digest it. Let us instill rest in them because so many of Your lambs are frenzied and frantic these days. Some are sick and wounded and need to be carried upon our shoulder. Others are zealous and given to sprinting too far ahead without waiting for their Shepherd as they become separated from the rest of the fold. God, please let there be no instances of head-butting today between your lambs. Use us to foster calmness among the many different sheep who will walk in Your pasture this Lord’s day.
And then there is the issue of the wolves.
God please give me and others like me the proper vision to spot the wolves as they draw near to Your vulnerable lambs. Please remind us not to pet the wolves or to be accommodating to the wolves or to feed the wolves with anything that gives them strength. Empower our tenacity against and and all wolves who want nothing short of a meal from Your flocks. Help us to be unflinching and and immediate when the evidence of their presence is found. They hide among your lambs, Father, and we need a shepherd’s discernment to rid the flocks of the danger. May modern day cries for diplomacy and political correctness fall upon our deaf ears while we instead listen to Your voice and defend Your sheep. Keep us close to Your lambs and let them abide safely under our care. Today we remember the privilege of tending to Your flocks and we resolve to give it our all. We commit to kindness, proactive love, good feeding from Your book, gentle laughter, valid tears, meaningful prayers and healthy examples as we live out our dual role of both shepherd and sheep. We know they will listen to our voices and I can only pray that they will know that we have heard theirs. You will guide us all today and so we gladly confess our eyes to be upon You today. Thank You for teaching us about shepherding by how You have always tended to us. We love You today, Father. We praise Your faithful name. Walk with us and all will be well.