Scripture: Matthew 10:16 (The Message) “Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you. You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove.”
The Bible often uses references such as sheep and wolves in analogies as to how the world works. Jesus pulls no punches in comparing sheep to wolves. In this case, Jesus is sending out his twelve disciples and comparing their work to sheep, while the wolves are unbelievers, or, more specifically, the Pharisees. The key phrase is to “stay alert” for what might be around us as we minister to others in your travels. If we aren’t careful, we will be devoured by hungry wolves.
Sheep are by nature dumb animals who think only about eating, drinking water, sleeping and reproducing. The Bible constantly references believers as potentially lost, who need a Shepherd to guide them. The NIV capitalizes Shepherd, meaning God, as the one we look to for guidance and for our protection. Jesus tells us specifically not to be sheep-like in how we act when we are out in the world. We are to be sensible and not gullible, yet not be conniving when we interact with others. When we lie or deceive others, we bring attention to ourselves instead of our mission. Our actions shine a bad light on Christianity and God.
We must find a balance in being “cunning” and “inoffensive” if we are to be successful in doing God’s work. We are always vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks if we aren’t careful. Another words, we should keep our heads up and be looking for the enemy’s attacks. We need to always realize that wolves aren’t friendly, and they are always hungry. They can attack at any time, even at night when we are sleeping.
Keeping God first in our lives is always the struggle. It doesn’t take much to get us off-kilter and be unable to serve others. As a single parent, our children are always open to such attacks. Because we must be the primary caregiver for our children, that often means stepping away from ministry to care for our own. In that regard, they are our primary flock and we are their shepherd. They depend on us. Our first responsibility is to our children. We can’t minister to others if our own lives are chaotic. When we manage our home life well, we are ready to be a shepherd of others. We have proven your ability to protect and lead at home, which is what God looks to first for his kingdom leaders.
How does this apply to my life?
Today’s prayer: Lord, help me to find that balance in my home life and ministry life. Help me to be someone that others look up to so that I can lead others to your Son. Amen
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Vol. 3, No. 76
This week’s reading plan can be found at http:/www.oneyearbibleonline.com/june.asp?version=51