Shepherds of hope 6 observations about Christian ministry

‘Coley, one of the cows is lying down in the field and it appears to be in a lot of distress. Go down and look after it until the vet arrives’ whispered the night watchman as he shined a torch light on my face.

4.30 AM I got dressed into a blue striped shirt, jeans, woolly jumper, overcoat and a pair of black boots. I tiptoed out of the dormitory, went down stairs into the main hall of the grange, walked through the kitchen and made my way outside. It was dark, cold and wet.

Scurrying up the lane to the farm I opened a wooden gate and trudged into the meadow. There I saw a cow sprawled out in the pasture. The animal lay on the sodden grass wreathing in pain. I had a sore throat and it was raining heavily. I felt sorry for the cow. In an act of compassion, I crouched on my knees and placed my left hand under its head. I stroked the cow’s face and spoke to it as though it were a child.

‘don’t worry it’s all right, you’ll be okay’ I muttered shivering cold.

I was only 15 years of age and I promised the cow that it would live as long as me and produce gallons more milk in its lifetime. After an aching 45 minutes in the field I was delighted to see a car approach the wire fence at the top of the road. The vehicle’s headlights beamed with encouragement. However, it didn’t stop. It wasn’t the vet but some early riser going about their business. The car passed, and we endured another excruciating hour. Eventually, the vet arrived.

Sidling out of his car he joined us in the gloomy meadow. After stretching a pair of rubber gloves on each hand he started the examination. Within minutes the vet diagnosed the illness. Taking a syringe out of a black case he injected the cow as it lay helpless in the grass. Much to my surprise the cow stood to its legs and walked off to join the rest of the herd nearby. Pain free now the animal seemed as though it hadn’t suffered at all. The vet explained to me that the cow’s sickness was wind related. The condition was painful but treatable.

After a job well done I strolled back to the Grange and tucked into my breakfast.

Looking back, I see some devotional parallels with my farm experience and Christian ministry today.

  1. The night watchman woke me out of my sleep.

God gives his people a spiritual awakening, Genesis 28.16

2. My farm work was done in a gloomy unlit field.

Christians labour in a dark world Ephesians 6.12

  1. The night watchman shined his torch on my face.

The light of God guides us Psalm 119.105

But also reflects through our countenance. Exodus 34:29-25

Read 12 Bible verses about shiny faces

4. The night watchman asked for me by name ‘Coley’

God personally calls us into the ministry, Mark 3.13-19

5. I supervised a flock.

Pastors care for people in the church, John 21.17.

6. I was sent to a poor suffering creature. The glad tidings of God, heals broken lives. As we go out and make the gospel known we see that, there’s a cure for sin, sickness and death. We have something of immeasurable worth to offer 1 Corinthians 1.18. 1 Tim 1:11

Pastors, elders, deacons, house group leaders, youth workers, chaplains, music directors, departmental heads and all church workers today are the shepherds of hope predicted by Jeremiah.

I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,”

Jeremiah 23.4.




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