Some days are pretty depressing. Most, however, are pretty good. Today, however, I had a moment of being…glad.
For the past six months, our congregation has been between senior pastors. During that time, I’ve borne some of that responsibility. This morning, I took an imaginary mantle from my shoulders and draped it over the shoulders of our new senior pastor.
It was an interesting feeling. What was more interesting was my reaction as I was walking down the hall 10 minutes later. I felt light, I laughed, I was … glad.
I no longer was responsible for ‘everything.’ Even though the past six months haven’t been difficult, my work load hasn’t increased, my schedule hasn’t been horrible–there still was something. There was some level of responsibility, an awareness that there might be a phone call or a crisis. For awhile, I, like Samwise, carried the Ring.
And so I felt glad. And then, my old habits of responsibility clicked in again. And I stopped feeling so glad.
But in that moment, as I think back, I had a glimpse of what my life could be like if I stopped believing that I had to carry the responsibility all the time. What if I took that mantle and put it on the shoulders of, not a person, but God?
Even if you aren’t sure that such a God exists, follow me for a moment.
If there were a God who called himself the shepherd. If that shepherd took care of sheep, calling them by name, leading them, sheltering them, looking for them when they wandered off. If that God who called himself shepherd cared enough about the sheep to call others to be undershepherds, to take care of parts of the really large flock, to get to know them, call them by name.
If all that is true, it would be really silly for one of those undershepherds to begin thinking that he carried ultimate responsibility for those sheep. It would be at best draining, at worst deadly, to decide to not communicate with the shepherd, to not follow the direction of the larger flock, to try to determine the best for those sheep without the creativity and resources and comfort provided by the shepherd not just to the sheep, but also to the undershepherds.
For whatever reason…pride, forgetfulness, busyness, distraction…I hang on to the mantle of my life. And I miss out on being … glad.
That moment this morning? It was really nice.
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