Song of Songs 1:8
“8 If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds’ tents.”
This verse represents part of a conversation between Christ and His Church. He is The Shepherd, and The Church is the Fairest of all. In it, He tells her the way to find Him. The Lord says to follow the path of the footsteps of the flock, and to feed thy children beside of the Shepherd’s tents.
This is beautiful for so many reasons, one of which is this, sheep don’t leave footsteps. Only Shepherd’s leave footprints. We know He isn’t only referring to Himself as The Chief Shepherd because shepherd’s tents is plural. This is a reference to the Pastors in our lives.
The men who, while following The Good Shepherd, walk every mile of our journey with us. They go ahead, securing the path to our future, to make sure it is safe for us. A shepherd would only take a tent with them when the journey was a long one. They would spend more time outside of it than inside it.
Most of their time was spent carving for their flock. It is no different today, Pastors spend most of their time bearing our burdens, caring for our loved ones, and smiling through tears. The life of a Shepherd is bound up in the life of his sheep.
The Lord Jesus gave His life for the sheep on Calvary, and spends every waking moment watching after us. He has positioned His Pastors to do the same through the sacrifices of their every day life. He never sleeps, Yet He did while here on Earth. Jesus knew His Under Shepherd’s would get weary, even as they gave their heart for His people.
That is why He gave them a tent, a refuge from the weariness that they gladly experience for the good of the people. As a Minister myself, and as a member of the flock, I’ve seen firsthand the sacrifices of The men, women, and children that commit all to the care of the sheep. Pastor’s and their families sacrifice for the Church. I’ve watched them work, not tirelessly, but in spite of fatigue if a sheep was hurting.
Aches, pains, and their own problems are placed on pause when they hear a cry from the flock. The Only trouble with this that we, as sheep, have been guilty of expecting this to be their pattern. The Lord intended it to be, not merely a blueprint for His leaders, but an example for His flock.
Just as The Lord said that we are all to be Kings and Priests, we are to care one for another. It is also our privilege to show care to those who care for us. October is Pastor Appreciation Month, one month out of the year, we honor those who are there for us all the other days of our lives.
When I think of the births and the goodbyes, the happy moments and the tear filled ones, I see my Pastor there. Smiling, while sleep deprived, skipping meals because of a hospital call, or just listening to someone for hours. Wishing he could be spending time with his own children while at the hospital for one of God’s children.
The Lord never takes lightly their sacrifice. This is why He tells His Bride, The Church, you’ll find Me in the footsteps of the flock, which are the shepherd’s prints because only shepherd’s leave footprints. He also tells her something else, feed the children by the shepherd’s tents.
It’s not only because they provide us the Preached Word. It’s because of the lesson in the manner they share it. They serve selflessly, honoring their God, loving His flock. That is why He provided rest for them, by supplying a tent for the journey. Christ brings that tent to the attention of His people too, reminding them to make sure we care as much for the caretakers, as they care for us.