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Filthy and smelly from traipsing around the fields with sheep.

Humble and unassuming — these are not guys you would see dining at a five-star restaurant or rubbing elbows with the elite members of society.

And yet…

one dark night, God sent a multitude of the angels of heaven to announce the birth of the long-awaited Messiah to these lowly men.

They were first.

There’s something special about being first, isn’t there?

But certainly, these shepherds were not the ones most people would imagine to be first. They probably didn’t even expect to be first themselves.

And just maybe that’s why they were.

The shepherds were certainly not expecting anything special that night. They were simply minding their own business, doing their job like they had always done it.

Did you catch that? They were where they were supposed to be. Just doing their job. It wasn’t a fancy job. It wasn’t prestigious. I wouldn’t imagine the pay was that spectacular. And they certainly weren’t famous.

But they were faithful. And devoted.

What if one of them had been lazy? Eager to get out of his responsibility? A slacker?

What if he had chosen, on that night, to not be where he was supposed to be?

It’s amazing to consider what he would’ve missed out on. Talk about the opportunity of a lifetime! To be serenaded by a huge choir of angels, announcing (after four hundred years of silence from God) that the Messiah was finally here. The One Israel had hoped for…longed for…waited on for hundreds of years.

Now think about a man who wasn’t where he was supposed to be at a particular time. In the Old Testament (2 Samuel 11), King David didn’t go to war when he should have, choosing to stay home instead. Which led to him seeing a woman in a compromising position, which led to adultery, which led to murder. And all of this led to some horrific tragedies in David’s own family for many years to come. All because he wasn’t where he was supposed to be.

Are you catching the importance of being faithful right where you are? Not longing to be somewhere else. Not wishing you were in another’s shoes. Not wondering how things might be, if only…

Fellow moms, as you’re where you’re supposed to be, caring for your little flock, be encouraged that your faithful service in caring for God’s lambs is significant to Him.

Sisters in Christ, are you’re where you’re supposed to be, in any walk of life — fulfilling work responsibilities, caring for family members, serving in ministry, actively showing Christ’s love to others — be encouraged that your faithful obedience to God’s calling on your life is significant to Him.

Your job isn’t prestigious.

Except in the kingdom that matters most.

It’s not well-paid.

Except in the kind of rewards that matter most.

It’s not going to garner you fame or notoriety.

Except from the One who matters most.

~~

How about you? I would love to hear your thoughts about the shepherds’ experience that first Christmas night. Or about how you remain faithful in your calling, in spite of the lack of worldly success or esteem. What Scriptures encourage you? Please take a moment and share your thoughts below.

Shepherds - the last shall be first