The Preacher and the Shepherd

This world seems heavy, doesn't it?

We are anxious people. Afraid to make the wrong move, say the wrong things, be criticized for the ways we parent or live, what we refrain from or what we enjoy, and constantly wondering if we are doing it wrong.

Maybe faith seems empty right now and doubt weighs heavy on your mind. Maybe you are questioning if faith in a God who seems silent or distant is even helpful anymore. Does anything I do in this life even matter?

Well, you are not alone. A middle-eastern man once wrote down some similar thoughts in a book that you might know as Ecclesiastes. You may even know some popular lines from its pages. This man saw many things in his lifetime, he had access to the best education, food and wine, palaces, and pleasures of this life. Every desire he had was met, yet he remained unsatisfied. It wasn't enough. Life seemed meaningless and dull. Each happy moment seemed to slip through his hands. After trying everything under the sun to appease his wonderings, he came to see life's purpose as what we might think is a simple solution.

Fear God and keep his commandments.

Maybe that is a disappointment or a confusion conclusion. Maybe it doesn't seem groundbreaking enough. Or maybe it seems scary or brings up thoughts of being coerced.

In fearing God, we recognize and name that he is the one who upholds and shows us what is good and right. And in following in his commandments, we image him. To stand up for justice is fearing God, to care for our neighbors above ourselves is fearing God, to be honest about the bad and good things of this world is to fear God, to provide a place of comfort and rest, is fearing God.

The good Shepherd, Jesus, shows us the way, gently providing us a place to rest from this heavy world as he carries on his promise to make all things right.

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