I’ve been reading the book “Jesus wants to save Christians” by Rob Bell and Don Golden. They point out that the story of Cain and Abel is really a story of struggle between the shepherd and the farmer. It’s about struggle between an agricultural or nomadic existence. Basically a fight between those who stay put and those who wander.
Flash forward into the story of the people of Abraham and you are met by a man named Moses. He becomes a shepherd and then moves his people out of Egypt. He leads them into covenant with God and helps them grow in knowledge and understanding.
Jump again some more and you’ll run into Jesus, the son of God but for these purposes think of him as a good shepherd. This is a man who led his people out of their confusion. After living with them and loving them he died for them so that they might know God. He led them into a new way of thinking and into new relationship with God.
Throughout the history of God’s people there have been people who’ve led the people of God out of their structured, settled states and into something new. It seems like this is something we should pay attention to.
Jesus last words to the disciples are to“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20.
These words are words of action. They require engagement. There is nothing settled or structured about this command. Jesus wants us to take on the role of teaching and leadership. We are called to help guide and move people in the right direction.
Thousands of years later we sit with this same command claiming confusion. We are baffled as to what went wrong. We look longingly back at a time when life was easy and people ran to us with little or no effort. The important thing to remember is that we exist as part of this story. We have hope as did the people who went before us. We are involved in that age old struggle of those who stay put and those who wander. We have been empowered to become like the shepherd. We are called to wander, to “go and make disciples of all nations…”. We are encouraged to wander.
We need to let go of what happened and move in to what is happening. It’s time to do a little wandering…