Be sure you know the condition of your flocks,
give careful attention to your herds…(Proverbs 27:23).
All of us have something to shepherd. Something to care for and invest in. Something that deserves our attention and our protection. Maybe its better said, we all have “someone.” Someone in our lives whom God has given us to love, care for, invest in and protect. Whether that be a child, friend, spouse, sibling or parent.
The writer of Proverbs encourages us to know the condition of our flocks. Quite simply, I believe this means we must be invested enough relationally, in the lives of those around us that we understand how the sheep in our flock is really doing.
Can I be really honest though? I have a tendency to prioritize things and projects over people. Instead of genuinely caring for the well-being of those in my life and being attentive to their needs I’d much rather attend to my hobbies, goals, and things that I enjoy doing.
Why are children so lonely and adults suffering through deep depression? Could it be that no one has paid careful enough attention in their lives to really know and understand how they’re doing?
In our culture, we tend to focus on what people are doing instead of HOW people are doing. We ask questions about what they’re up to and accomplishing, but we rarely go beyond the surface and into the hard questions of the heart. Maybe that’s because if we do, we’ll have to muster up a certain amount of emotional energy that we just don’t want to deal with for that day. We’d rather enjoy an easy conversation than potentially enter into one that will take much more time and emotional energy.
As I think about bringing a child into the world I am keenly aware of this reality in my life. Therefore, I’m praying that my heart will fully embrace that my greatest investment will not be in things but people. I want to be faithful to the little flock God has given me. For truly, when we learn this valuable truth, we expand not just our reach for God, but our capacity to love as well.
Lord, I want to be a good shepherd of the little flocks you’ve given me. Help me to slow down and see people. I want to prioritize relationships over things. Sometimes I care too much about the things that I do instead of the people in my life. Forgive me for prioritizing the wrong things. I want to be like you, in Jesus name, Amen.