Links Daily Devotional

In My Care

Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations. (Proverbs 27:23, NIV)

I realized as I walked with two new golfers during a high school match last week that I was doing a bit of on-course announcing for these boys who were only spectating on this sunny afternoon. In particular, I was telling them about the tendencies of the players on the course, sometimes even injecting a bit of pessimism formed from these players’ harmful tendencies. I know, I’ve been watching too much Johnny Miller.

I began to ask myself how well I know all the flocks in my care.What struck me later, however, was how quickly you can come to know the strengths and weaknesses of the golfers with whom you share the game, whether as a player, a fan, or a coach, as I was that day.

Put one of these familiar players in a specific spot on the golf course and you’re likely to submit an accurate guess as to the outcome. Does he hate the right-to-left shot? Does she have trouble with the speed of downhill putts? Does he know exactly how to hit the soft flop? Time and attention make experts of us all.

When in my weekend reading, then, I came across Proverbs 27:23, I began to ask myself how well I know all the flocks in my care. Quite obviously, there is my wife. My children are adults now, but I continue to take interest in the matters of their lives. My parents are still living, as is my wife’s mother and her husband. I teach a Links Fellowship and serve as a small group leader and elder in my church. There are neighbors and friends beyond these circles. And there are those young men with whom I share the golf season. Goodness, that’s a lot of sheep!

You might say the same when you survey the circles of your influence. Who is in your care, relationally, physically, and spiritually?

The motivation supplied by Solomon for watching out for your flocks and herds is that these things do not last when poorly attended. Riches can fade, power too. But the greater tragedy than our own loss of these things comes in the deteriorating condition of the flocks themselves—especially when the flocks we speak of are the men, women, and children in our purview.

Jesus noted before the Father in prayer that of those he had been given in the world (his disciples), “none has been lost except the one doomed to destruction (Judas Iscariot) so that Scripture would be fulfilled” (John 17:12). In this we might find our own goal: to consider those God has given us to influence, wanting to hold onto them all, for his sake and theirs. We do so by our prayer, by our care, and by our continuing practice of talking about matters of the faith “when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 6:7). This is our charge when we consider our charges.

Jeff Hopper
March 8, 2017
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