Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Influences of the Shepherd
As each Tuesday rolls around, I sit in my comfy yellow chair, review my book, my notes, and begin to pray that God would give me wisdom and direction with book club this evening.
It's always interesting to see where my heart is led and what events in my life I can pin point as being profoundly related to the topic at hand. The Shepherd's Look at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller has been very interesting. Relating the task of raising sheep to our role as His sheep.
Where my heart landed today was that as "...He prepares a table for me..." And the author went on to dissect what "preparing a table" means for a shepherd. It's going ahead to the best and highest pastures. The lush of summer, the vibrant color of green, the grazing place on high. And it is high up there. The Shepherd will make many trips to this "table". Looking for poisonous weeds. One flower was described as being so beautiful, yet deadly to a sheep. Even with the Shepherd preparing that "table", pulling the poisonous flowers, preparing the soil with salt, there is still danger in the influences that linger.
My heart was heavy after reading this particular chapter. Influences. Even at what is considered to be the finest offering our Shepherd could provide there are still the dangers of influence. As we wander to far from our Shepherd the distractions of danger linger, often unknown to the dumb little sheep. I speak of myself in that way right now.
I was living my life on what I thought was the path up to that "table". Things appeared okay, but it was the influences that distracted me. Sometimes we choose to get out of reach of His staff and He has to come after us. Even after coming for us, we turn right back into danger. Several years back I got into a crowd that did a lot of social drinking. I was never much for drinking in that I was a young mom, running a business and had to be bright eyed the next morning. After 1-2 drinks I was done. This was a fun crowd of very good people. Long before David and I, I dated someone who consumed much alcohol on a regular basis. I was dumb. DUMB!!! I had never been around anyone who abused alcohol so I did not really know what abuse looked like. So I asked an alcoholic what to much alcohol was. I did not know this person was an alcoholic. Some might thing well you should have known, but I did not.
It was a couple of years later, after dating David and discussing the issues I had with myself and others and the amount of alcohol that he clearly defined these people as alcoholics. His back round for over 15 years was an Alcohol and Chemical Addiction Therapist, so he was clear on the signs and indications.
Influence? Yes, I am convinced God has more work for me as I look back almost ten years ago realizing I was driving a large vehicle on some nights when I had more than two drinks. My life and the lives of others spared I am certain. I was reminded of this story today. A time in my life I had not thought of for years as I pondered my walk into not so good influences in my life. You know the grass just might be greener on the other side, but only for a while, because being out of reach of our Shepherd is dangerous to our hearts.
What influences have been masked in your life as good, but really hinder your relationship with our Shepherd. What influences have moved you away from that table He has prepared only for a while appearing to be greener pastures?
I pray today that I would be stay close to Him daily as not to misunderstand the influences in my own life.