BE AN HEIR, NOT A FENCE CRAWLER
I have become increasingly aware of one thing. It is the Master in people's lives who makes the difference in their destiny.
Despite an unparalleled wealth in material assets we are outstandingly insecure and unsure of ourselves and well-nigh bankrupt in spiritual values. Always men are searching for safety beyond themselves. They are restless, unsettled, covetous, greedy for more – wanting this and that, yet never really satisfied in spirit.
By contrast, the simple Christian – the humble person, the Shepherd's sheep – can stand up proudly and boast, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." I am completely satisfied with His management of my life. Why? Because, He is the sheepman to whom no trouble is too great as He cares for His flock.
He is the Rancher who is outstanding because of His fondness for the sheep – who loves them for their own sake as well as His personal pleasure in them. He will, if necessary, be on the job twenty-four hours a day to see that they are properly provided for in every detail. Above all, He is very jealous of His name and high reputation as “The Good Shepherd.”
He is the owner who delights in His flock. For Him there is no greater reward, no deeper satisfaction, than that of seeing His sheep contented, well fed, safe and flourishing under His care. This is indeed His very 'life.' He gives all He has to it. He literally lays Himself out for those who are His.
He will go to no end of trouble and labor to supply them with the finest grazing, the richest pasturage, ample winter feed, and clean water. He will spare Himself no pains to provide shelter from storms, protection from ruthless enemies and the diseases and parasites to which sheep are so susceptible.
No wonder Jesus said, "I am the Good Shepherd – the Good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." And again, "I am come that ye might have life and that ye might have it more abundantly."
From early dawn until late at night this utterly self-less Shepherd is alert to the welfare of His flock. For the diligent sheepman rises early and goes out first thing every morning without fail to look over his flock. It is the initial, intimate contact of the day. With a practiced, searching, sympathetic eye he examines the sheep to see that they are fit and content and able to be on their feet. In an instant he can tell if they have been molested during the night – whether any are ill or if there are some which require special attention.
Repeatedly throughout the day he casts his eye over the flock to make sure that all is well. Nor even at night is he oblivious to their needs. He sleeps, as it were, 'with one eye and both ears open' ready at the least sign of trouble to leap up and protect his own.
This is a sublime picture of the care given to those whose lives are under Christ's control. He knows all about their lives from morning to night.
"Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits – even the God of our salvation.” "He that keepeth thee will not slumber or sleep."
In spite of having such a master and owner, the fact remains that some Christians are still not content with His control. They are somewhat dissatisfied, always feeling that somehow the grass beyond the fence must be a little greener. These are carnal Christians – one might almost call them 'fence crawlers' or 'half Christians' who want the best of both worlds.
Excerpts from the book, “A Shepherd’s Look at Psalm 23”, by Phillip Keller