We must be attentive to God's direction as we go through the day or we may walk right past the opportunities to give a cup of water in Jesus' name.
Sheep wake up hungry, ready to eat. Their instinct tells them to eat and to eat now. In fact, a lost appetite is one sign to the shepherd that a sheep is unhealthy. Camels on the other hand can go up to forty days without eating (they store calories in their hump). Not sheep. They need to eat daily to stay healthy.
In Scripture, one of the more consistent images used to describe believers is sheep. We are called the sheep of His pasture (Psa. 100:3), in need of a shepherd (Matt. 9:36), the sheep for whom the Shepherd laid down His life (John 10:11), as knowing the voice of our Shepherd (John 10:14), and as a lost sheep being sought (Matt. 18:10-13). Like sheep, we too need to feed our souls daily to remain healthy.
We need it daily because life happens that way. Temptation doesn’t carry a calendar nor does it pace itself. It doesn’t stop and say, “It is Tuesday so I need to wait until Saturday to execute this temptation.” Opportunities to represent Christ in this world are usually not scheduled either. We must be attentive to God’s direction as we go through the day or we may walk right past the opportunities to give a cup of water in Jesus’ name. Life happens daily.
David understood the need for us to feed our souls daily. He declared that true happiness comes to those who meditate on God’s Word day and night (Psa. 1:1-2). David was not the first leader to understand this. Joshua was told that his success as a leader would be dependent on him meditating on God’s Word daily and obeying what he discovered (Josh. 1:7-8).
When we think of discipleship we usually think of it in terms of a weekly meeting with another person who either we invest in or who is investing in us. As valuable as that may be, we can’t wait for a weekly meeting or weekly Bible study group to be fed. We need daily discipleship, taking daily actions that move us forward in our spiritual lives.
As a shepherd, we are responsible for making sure that the sheep under our care have access to the food they need. We can’t force them to eat, but that doesn’t negate our responsibility of making it possible for them to eat something. The good news is we don’t need to be present for them to eat. We just need to find a way to provide them daily food so they can feed themselves. Remember, healthy sheep want to eat.
Sheep were observed in Great Britain laying down and rolling over a cattle guard to gain access to gardens being “protected.” Their willingness to cross even a “hoof-proof” cattle guard to find food reveals more about their shepherd than about the sheep. Hungry sheep will look other places for food, willing to eat anything with the hope of surviving.
What are you providing that helps the members of your church and Bible study group get their spiritual nourishment on a daily basis?
Daily Discipleship Guide from Explore the Bible
Most of us want those in our Bible study groups to study God's Word every day. We know the difference regular Bible study makes in our lives, and we want them to experience that blessing as well. With this goal in mind, we created the Explore the Bible Daily Discipleship Guide. Instead of studying beforehand, participants attend the group, learn the content, and then build upon what they learned using five daily, directed Bible studies.
Dwayne McCrary is a project team leader for ongoing adult Bible study resources at LifeWay, including the adult Explore the Bible resources. He also teaches an adult group and a preschool group every Sunday in the church heattends.
Dr. Pat Ford joined Church Partnerships of LifeWay Christian Resources in 2007 after 35 years of ministry in church, university, and seminary settings. He can be contacted at 832-725-4253 or email@example.com, and followed on Twitter at @patford.