Jesus says that He is the good shepherd. What does the good shepherd do?
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)
That is a very great comfort to us who trust in Jesus Christ. He cares for us. He has already cared for us to the extent of laying down His life for us. We can count on His continued love and faithfulness on our behalf.
But the question that now comes to my heart and mind as I read this again is the question of my love for others. Jesus also tells us that the greatest love is to lay down our lives for our friends. He commands us to love one another as He loved us. We are to lay down our lives or those around us. Do we do so? Do I do so?
It is a momentous responsibility that I have to be the “shepherd” of my family. Do I lay down my life for the sake of furthering the spiritual growth and salvation of my wife? Of my children? Is this a burden of love that receives great care and attention from me? Do I pass by that duty lightly, just living casually day by day around these people who are the closest to me in life?
I should be aware of what a duty is placed upon me. I have much work to do. I will give much answer to God for how I discharge this duty, just as a pastor does for the congregation/flock of God over which he is placed.
You, too, have a responsibility in regards to at least some group of people in your life. Where you have influence and relationship with others, it is your duty to lay down your life to care for them. Are you doing so? How much time and energy do you expend thinking about and carrying out the work of loving others and pursuing their good and their salvation/spiritual growth. It is a great task, indeed. Let us all take care to discharge it well. And more, let us love others sincerely so that it is a joy and a privilege to care for them this way rather than a begrudging duty.