There are several service organizations that fund and facilitate great work all over the globe, but it was in a local Rotary meeting in a mid-size town
that a recipient of a $2,000 college scholarship responded, with passion and sincerity, “It means the world!”
She was grateful, nearly beyond words. Her body language, the tone of her voice, her gracious smile – they each indicated deep gratitude. At that moment, the scholarship was the best gift in the world to this 20-year-old.
As I watched this scene from a seat near the back of the room, I couldn’t help but think that God the Father must have said something like that when He looked at His Son, the Good Shepherd of the universe, and gave Him the assignment. Jesus was to leave perfection and live perfectly in a fallen world full of broken people, facing temptation for 30+ years. He would endure torture and death to pay for the sins of all who ever lived, the sheep of His pasture.
With tears in His eyes because of the joy we’ve sacrificed and a smile on His face because He knew His Son would accept the charge, I pictured Him saying, “It means the world.”
The world -- the earth with its inhabitants and all things upon it – as Merriam-Webster defines it.
It did mean the world.
God the Father and God the Son both believe the sheep are sacred. And it is because of that belief, the Father was willing to sacrifice His only Son for our redemption and the Son was willing to sacrifice Heavenly places for a temporary earthly existence. The Father sent the Good Shepherd as a sacrifice for our wrongs, our ills, and our poor choices. It meant the world. To them. To us.
Although the Deity had no obligation to sacrifice for the sheep, as under-shepherds we do bear that responsibility. As influencers in society, our duty as leaders includes laying down our desires, our fears, and our egos for the growth, well-being, and development of the sheep we serve.
It means the world. To us. To those we shepherd.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices His life for the sheep.
A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.”