Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock! When you hear these strong words from the Old Testament, you’re probably thinking, thank goodness I don’t have any sheep — dodged that bullet. Nobody misled here! No flock scattered on my watch! However, we are all shepherds of a kind, called to tend our own sheep: our families, our parishes, our communities.
But it’s exhausting. Don’t we all sometimes just want to take a break from being a steward? The excuses are so familiar: we’re tired, we’ve done enough, we’ve given all we can, what more does the parish (or my spouse, or my kids, or my boss, or my friends, or my community) want? We give ourselves permission to be selfish. So, what if the flock scatters just a little?
Jesus gets that. We can just imagine him weary with exhaustion, can’t we? We see him on his boat, attempting to sneak away for a quick break — maybe just a chance to eat a bite of food in peace. He is God, but he was still human, after all. Even the most dedicated shepherds need to sleep. But people couldn’t leave him alone. They were hungry for him. They needed what he could offer, and they needed it now.
As tough as it is, that’s the example we are tasked with imitating. Everyday Stewardship demands accountability. It demands our showing up even when we are tired. It demands that we look at our lives, our time, our energies, our talents, our hearts, our bank accounts and think: where do I still have more to give?
— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS