Today my wife and I sent our oldest son to Middle School. I have to admit, I worry about him as he enters 7th Grade; I know the things I was tempted by and drawn in to, I know what I did to fit in, I know how I began to compromise my beliefs for the sake of appearances to others. This morning, as I drove in to the office, I had a hard time handling all of this information. As I was praying, though, and even before, I kept hearing “Behold, I am sending you out like sheep among the wolves.” (Matthew 10:16) Jesus said this to His disciples before sending them to do His work. I found comfort in these words, because I am not raising a good kid, full of innocence. I am raising a young man, full of the Spirit of the Living God. Loved ones, this doesn’t merely apply to our kids as they go back to school, but every single one of us. We, too, are to be as sheep among the wolves. Some may not like that terminology, but if Jesus is my shepherd, I’m going to be a sheep! It means I will trust my shepherd, even should my life be forfeit. It means I will trust my shepherd with my family, my wealth (what little I have), my possessions, my words, my thoughts, my actions and my very life! We are send out like sheep among the wolves, why? To do the work of the Gospel. Some out there need to see us living the way Jesus calls us to live. We give hope to those seeking it, and strike fear in to those who see us doing as we’re commanded…and succeeding! We are here to prove our shepherd to the world, and we don’t get there by acting as the wolves do, but being the King’s sheep! Walk boldly. Live under the rod and staff of the Good Shepherd. Be meek, but stand firm. We’re sent out as sheep among the wolves, but our Shepherd will guide us all home. Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.
“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.