Watching Over Your Field

by Stephen Shives

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.             Luke 2:8

I can’t say I’ve ever had the desire to be a shepherd. It doesn’t sound like a very glamorous job to me. Not that I’m into glamour, but whenever possible, I prefer to leave the care of animals to someone else.
Though this portion of scripture is often referred to only during the Christmas season, God’s Word is timeless. We certainly do not have to wait for a religious holiday to learn and apply its truths to our life.
Whether you are a homemaker, student, or out in the workforce everyday, the fact is, each of us has a place (field) to use our abilities. The challenge is in choosing the right activity to occupy our time. Here are some things to remember that will help you get the most out of the time you have.
Mind Your Business – When the angel of the Lord showed up that night, the shepherds were – “keeping watch over THEIR flocks.” Perhaps if we would pay attention to our own responsibilities first, instead of sticking our noses in everyone else’s business, the world would be a much better place and we’d all get a lot more accomplished.
God is closer than you think – Little did the shepherds know, that just around the corner, the Messiah was being born. It’s hard to say exactly why these men were chosen for a divine visitation that night; but God undoubtedly knew He could count on these dependable members of the local workforce, to spread the most life-changing news of all time.
When you think you are all alone and no one is watching or even cares, think again. The Bible speaks of God’s relationship with you as “A friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Don’t be caught sleeping, when opportunity comes – In the calm of the night, I suppose it could have been very tempting for these shepherds to lie down and go to sleep instead of keeping watch. God often presents people (myself included) with awesome opportunities to benefit our life and others. We fail to embrace those priceless moments when we get caught up in our own comfort and convenience.
When we over-exaggerate yesterday – we idolize our past trophies and achievements as if we do not expect anything better to happen. We try to make yesterday sound better than it really was.
It’s just as common to overestimate the future, thinking all of our dreams will come true… tomorrow. I know people who have been talking about their PLANS for years. Yet, they have made no serious effort to progress toward their goal. Then, they get discouraged when “Tomorrow” doesn’t meet their expectations.
Never underestimate today. While yesterday is gone and tomorrow is yet to be, TODAY holds more potential than any other day in your life. Someone could use your help or encouraging word. Determine today, to set your course in the direction of your dreams.
Most importantly: Consider God's plan over your own.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”                Jeremiah 29:11-12 (NIV)