What is a shepherd’s goal for his sheep? When I first started in ministry the Lord spoke to me prophetically and said, “My sheep are hungry for the good grass that grows by the river of living water.” From that day to this, my personal aim has been to feed the good Word of God to those whom God has brought into our ministry. I like to think of it as the grass He makes to grow upon the mountain. You realize, of course, that grass does not grow on mountaintops, so this means it is that which has supernatural life in it, i.e., the grass that flourishes in the rarified air beyond the tree line.
My goal, as a pastor, has always been to live and demonstrate the peace that the New Testament believers had as a distinct quality in every situation they faced. They did not just sit around talking about peace. They were a demonstration of their faith. Idol worshippers were common in their day, and yet they were anchored in the promises of God. This caused them to become a stark contrast with their peers in the market places of life. They had peace no matter what the circumstance of life threw at them. Where did they get such peace? How were they tranquil and yet never passive? In the sixties, a famous saying was, “THERE IS ONE WAY TO PEACE THROUGH THE POWER OF THE CROSS.”
Peace is not the absence of conflict, but rather the presence of God in a person’s life. Our peace today is not the absence of conflict in all we find ourselves facing. It is far more than this. It is that we have the Prince of Peace living within us. We have His living word hidden in our hearts. This is what Jesus told his disciples in John 14:27 (The Message Translation): “I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. PEACE. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left - feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.”
Have you stopped to think that all the distractions we are accustomed to have been, to some degree, removed? It is hard to think when you have distractions. Problems are hard to solve and music cannot be appreciated when there is a jackhammer breaking up concrete outside your window. Life is filled with distractions, but for the last few weeks, many of the things which distract us are absent. I remember my mother saying to my brother and me, “Boys, I need some peace and quiet.” Well, if you have ever said that, you have had plenty of it lately. Peace and quiet, however, is not the same as the peace that the Lord gives to us. He gives us peace that the world cannot take away. What manner of man is this that can say to a storm “Peace be still”, and the storm hushes like a crying child at a mother’s touch in a long night?
You are in my constant thoughts and prayers. GayNell and I pray for you, it seems, without ceasing, and we cannot wait to be back together for corporate worship. I believe in you, I love you, I want you, and I need you.
Pastor Cleddie Keith
P.S. I am thankful that God called me to be a shepherd.