December 26

“When the angels left them and went back to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, that the Lord has made known to us.’ So they hurried off and located Mary and Joseph, and found the baby lying in a manger” (Luke 2:15-16).

After Jesus was born, God revealed this wonderful news to a group of shepherds. We could spend time speculating as to why God chose this particular group to reveal this amazing event to, but I want to focus more on the response of the shepherds, for in their response is a challenge to how we should respond to God’s revelation in our own lives. In fact, maybe it is the way God knew that they would respond that reveals why He may have chosen them for this awesome privilege.

The shepherds were so excited about what God has revealed to them that they were giddy. They couldn’t stop talking about their experience to one another and they exhorted one another to all go to Bethlehem so that no one would miss out. They just didn’t take the angels’ word for it, they desired to experience it first-hand for themselves. They also responded with a sense of urgency for Luke records they “hurried off.” They eagerly, enthusiastically, and energetically took off for Bethlehem. But here’s a point in the story easily missed. If all of the shepherds left for Bethlehem, who would take care of their sheep while they were gone? The answer is God would, and in this answer is great meaning for us as disciples and followers of Jesus Christ.

When God asks us to do something or to be a part of something, many times God’s offer is rejected because we try to figure out all the “what if’s” and details of everything. But God calls us to follow Him and let Him figure out all the details of everything. We miss out on so much with God because we are not willing to let go of something else and trust Him to take care of whatever it is while we follow Him. This is the very reason why Jesus challenged His followers early on to, “Pursue above all the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). If God is calling on us to be a part of something, then He obligates Himself to care for all of the contingencies that go along with it. Our job isn’t to worry about the “what if’s” in life. Our responsibility is simply to follow Him. God will care for and take care of everything else. This is why the command to above all pursue God’s kingdom is in the context of Jesus’ teaching on anxiety and worry (Matthew 6:25-32).

Whatever is your Bethlehem, go for it like the shepherds did. If God is moving in your life and calling you to go and do something, then do it and trust Him with all the fall out of everything else. This is what those shepherds did on that hillside that night and it’s how we should respond as well.