Dear Friends and Members of Shepherd of the Hills,
Oh, that the Lord would guide my ways
To keep His statutes still
Oh, that my God would grant me grace
To know and do His will.
Order my footsteps by Thy Word
And make my heart sincere;
Let sin have no dominion, Lord,
But keep my conscience clear.
Assist my soul, too apt to stray,
A stricter watch to keep;
And should I e’re forget Thy way,
Restore Thy wandering sheep.
Make me to walk in Thy commands
’Tis a delightful road
Nor let my head or heart or hands
Offend against my God.— LSB 707 Text by Isaac Watts
The Lord is deeply concerned about how we live this life. We confess fully and whole heartedly that we are deadly sinners in need of a savior. This confession is always followed up with a life lived worthy of our calling. We do not live this life unguided or unguarded. Jesus himself stands as our shepherd leading and guiding our ways. He reminds us that in the Kingdom of God the lost ones are rejoiced over. Jesus says, “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish. (Matt 18:12-14).
The hymn writer above speaks to me today and maybe to you as well when he says, “Order my footsteps by Thy Word.” All of our life, how we think and how we act, is ordered by God’s Word. The French philosopher Henri Bergson says, “Think like a man of action and act like a man of thought.” If we respond in action to the world around us apart from the Spirit-led and thought-filled reflection on God’s Word we are sheep who have gone astray and need to be corrected. If we are thinkers paralyzed by our own analysis or well-meaning in our intent but fail to act we are sheep who have gone astray and need to be corrected.
Let us be thoughtful people of action, lead and directed by God’s Word. Two actions you can take: One, be about the business of studying God’s Word so that our thoughtfulness is centered on the Word of God. Attend Bible Study and services if you currently do not. Be more faithful in participating in these things if you already do. Two, take action and follow through on that act of love and connection you have been meaning to make with one of your fellow members here at Shepherd of the Hills. Take action in connecting with that friend or neighbor who you keep meaning to get together with. Prioritize people in your daily rhythm. Being people of action is about connecting with other people and reveling in the grace and mercy God has had upon us with them.
’Tis a delightful road indeed as I walk with you all. You bring joy to my heart as we study and act together for the mission of loving as our savior loves in word and deed. May God bless you during this Epiphany season.
In His Love and Service,