Why did the shepherds leave the sheep behind?
They were told to go. Angels gave them an opportunity to see something amazing, but the offer was time sensitive. Were they told that nothing would happen to their sheep while they were gone? No, they were given an open door and knew that what was on the other side was better than where they were at the time.
So often I sense God telling me to do something, but I hesitate. Instead of quick obedience, I rationalize why that's not a good idea. Or, why I should do it later instead. I start to worry about the unfinished business of my day. What about my sheep?
God sees all aspects of my life, even the parts I do not fully understand. When he asks me to do something, I can trust that it is for a good reason: for His good. It may be, and most likely is, for a greater purpose than I realize.
So, did something bad happen to the sheep?
I admitted to my son that we have no way of knowing. I have a feeling, though, that an angel stuck around after the final notes of the hallelujah choir to play stand-in shepherd. But even if the sheep did not survive, I don't think it mattered as much to them anymore. When they came face to face with the author of life in infant form, all else grew strangely dim.
Leave the sheep, if that is God's request. Talk to the stranger. Rearrange the priorities of the day. Give abundantly. Let an angel step in where you stepped away. Do not miss seeing the face of the King.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found... (Luke 2:8-16a NIV)
Messiah, Prince of Peace, I do not want to miss seeing you. When I feel a nudge or hear a direct command, I want to move forward and not look back, not worry. I want to see you clearly and the things of this earth dimly. Give me boldness and wisdom, peace and hope. You are what is most important each moment of my life. Amen.