No GPS needed. No additional instructions required. They were people of the land. They knew where they were and where to go. This was how they made a living. They sought out the lost and protected their own. They were the perfect people to find a baby in the middle of an overcrowded town, in a barn with the animals. I mean, who would have thought to look there? They could have spent days or weeks looking and never found him. He didn’t have a big fanfare. There weren’t balloons on the mailbox. There were no stork signs in the front yard. Not even a blue bow was tied out front. All they knew was to go to Bethlehem and find a baby that had just been born. They did just that.
Shepherds are actually pretty incredible. They are average, working class folks. They are in the security business. They manage large acreage and have many to take care. The enemy is never far, so they must be really good at what they do or they won’t do it much longer. They can’t afford to be lazy or uncaring. They have to know the lay of the land. They must know where to go if one of their own gets lost or steers off course. They are specialists in finding the hidden. They are shepherds. And God chooses this group of people to find his baby in the middle of a chaotic town overcrowded due to a registration.
I haven’t really thought much about how this could have been a challenge. I have always pictured them walking out of their field and into the stable. But there is a trip. There is a search. There is a sea of people they have to sort through to find a woman who has had a baby. And this woman isn’t in a room and not in a home, but in a barn. Yet, somehow, they do it. God knew these were the right people to find Jesus. They were made for this – even though they didn’t know this. And when they showed up to the right place at just the right time, I can only imagine the excitement on their face and the joy in their heart. God had sent them on the ultimate mission – the trip of a lifetime. They were going to see the Messiah, announced to them by angels and a chorus. This was more than a big deal – this was the discovery they had waited for generations. Shepherds did it – and God knew it.
God knows just what he is doing when he calls us. He knows exactly how capable we really are. All of the dead ends we may have traveled could be preparing us for the ultimate adventure. God could be using all of the training we felt was useless for something magnificent to bring him glory. It may just be that God has a plan in it all. We just need to pay attention and be faithful.
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Photos included in Devotions are captured by David Cain – The Cain Gallery. Photos are available for sale by contacting The Cain Gallery