“Like a shepherd he tends his flock; he gathers up the lambs with his arm; he carries them close to his heart; he leads the ewes along.” (NET)
I think we all realize that the purpose of the shepherd is to protect the sheep. When actual fences aren’t available to keep out the predators and keep the sheep from wandering, then the shepherd personally takes on that responsibility. I think we sometimes believe that fences are there to keep us bound, but in actuality, God designed fences to protect us, not to keep us from experiencing an abundant life…but in order to experience life more abundantly.
When my children were small, I would keep them from running in the street. They didn’t understand the potential danger that awaited them outside the confines of my “fence” on their activity. They resented my confinement and had temper tantrums to go and do what they wanted to do. They were not able to see things from any other perspective but their own.
I believe that in many cases we are still like this. We tend to see things from only our own perspective. With this being the case, we will make decisions through the broken filter of our experiences, feelings, and even shame. This is one of the many reasons that we must take all of our decisions to the Lord in prayer, search the scriptures, and consult those that are spiritually mature and outside the influence of the situation at hand.
The confines of structure and accountability are good for us. For example, you might have a heart to help the homeless. You could make the decision to walk the streets handing out money and food to people. This decision could potentially put you in physical danger and may not be beneficial to those you are attempting to assist on a long-term basis. Whereas, if you chose to serve through an organization designed for this type of ministry already out there doing what God has called you to but within the confines and boundaries of the law and with accountability on their end, could that be a better long-term benefit to those in which you are attempting to minister? Many of these ministries have ongoing requirements in which those in receipt of their benefits must qualify for before receiving. If you decided to take this venture up on your own without the necessary legal requirements and ministry guidelines, you could find yourself enabling someone to stay homeless instead of truly helping that person to look toward a more secure future. These are the types of fences which keep us safe in ministry.
We, on our own, sometimes cannot see the whole picture and must be humble enough and teachable enough to seek Him in prayer, seek His Word, and seek His people which allows a fence for our protection and best interest to be put into place before moving forward if we truly want to be effective in the roles He has designed for us in this life.
Christian vocalist and speaker Lori Kennedy believes in sharing the gifts and talents in which Christ has blessed her. Authenticity, transparency, and vulnerability are imperative to touching hearts for the Lord. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse from those in authority over her outside of her family of origin, Lori has had to overcome much to fulfill the destiny that God created just for her!
You can find out more about Lori and her ministry, Alpha Omega Ministries, at her website www.lorikennedy.com.