Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Who is My Shepherd? THE Good Shepherd

The weight of responsibility to care for people in pain is very HEAVY at times; too heavy for people-helpers to carry by ourselves.  That's why I'm so glad that THE Good Shepherd cares for me, and the people I/we (Grace & Truth) serve.

Nearly every session I pray for knowledge and wisdom from The Good Shepherd.  Why wouldn't I?  He promised His presence and ministry to us by the indwelling of The Holy Spirit as His very presence and power to inhabit us as Wonderful Counselor, Great Physician, Comforter, Teacher "who will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have taught you" (John 14:26).

And at the end of nearly every session, I exhort clients to talk to and listen for The Good Shepherd; that they are not without care and counsel just because they aren't in session with me.  I'm pretty convinced that teaching the people I care for as Jesus's Helper that He is their Shepherd (and not me) who wants to communicate with them, guide them, teach them, comfort them, and to lead them on the path of truth, righteousness, purposeful life in and for His Kingdom, IS the MOST IMPORTANT thing I can do for them.  Pointing them to cultivate a listening relationship in which they learn to hear His voice "My Sheep know my voice . . . "

This is good for them, and it is good for me.

It's good for them because they are inoculated against elevation of man to positions that are above and beyond us, even if we are counselors, doctors or pastorally gifted helpers, and empowered to approach Jesus directly themselves (not through an intermediary such as was required under the old covenant to approach God through a priest).

It's good for us helpers (those that some would entitle 'shepherds') because we're reminded that while we may indeed by gifted and positioned to provide pastoral care to those on our path, that there is ONE who is above and beyond us whom we rely on for Knowledge and Wisdom, and on whose behalf we care for them.  AND, that they too can directly approach Him for the same 'after hours'.

As a compassionate care-giver, I feel a sense of loss and anxiety when I open the door to say goodbye to a client in pain and crisis.  But they are comforted, as I am, that they can directly access Jesus, and hear from Him.

One day a mother asked my opinion on a complex set of issues facing her family.  "What do you think?  You're the professional."  I began to answer, but felt checked by the Holy Spirit.  "Ask her what she has heard from me."  So I did, and my jaw dropped as this 'untrained' lady (not a professional counselor or minister) responded with an elegant solution.  There was a long silence before she said, "That's bad for your business, you know.  Empowering your clients to hear from God Himself vs. relying on you to hear and see for them."  She'd heard the brilliance of the Lord's guidance in her situation, and knew that it came from Him, not from me.

Practicing counseling in this way may indeed be bad for 'client retention', if maximizing my client's financial value as an ongoing customer is my objective.  (As they say in Washington, D.C., "There's a lot of money to be made by prolonging the solution to the problem").  But it's certainly not bad for the Kingdom of God to have yet another empowered and powerful (filled by the Holy Spirit) special force worker in the world to continue hearing Him and teaching others to do the same!

Who is my Shepherd?  "The Lord is My Shepherd" (Psalm 23).

Who is your Shepherd?

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