On Shepherding

By Ps Ng Zhiwen

I was ordained as a pastor (i.e. shepherd) on 29th October 2022. Within 2 days, I had to help conduct a wake. 4 weeks later, and still less than a month into my pastoring, I had to conduct a wake and a funeral. Quite a way to start!

But my mind goes back to the day before ordination. On the 28th of October, as I was mulling over what lay ahead for me, the Lord brought the 23rd Psalm to my mind. I shared about it that night with a small group of friends. And then I wrote about it in my testimony of calling, a portion of which I have reproduced below. Perhaps you the reader will have some spiritual insight to what all this may mean. I would be glad to hear from you.

Jesus is my Good Shepherd… he has fed me, brought me by the still waters. He has restored my soul. He also leads me through the valley of the shadow of death and shown me His sure goodness and mercy.
He has pastored me.

I have never thought about psalm 23 in this way, until now (since only yesterday in fact). Of shepherds leading the sheep through the valley of the shadow of death. Maybe the sheep had wandered off and were lost in there and needed to be found. Maybe they were frail old sheep, and the valley was the one last journey they had to take to pass through the veil of death (pastors have to do that, don’t they).

But most of all, maybe they were there because the Shepherd had to lead them through that valley of the shadow of death. “Behold I send you out as sheep among wolves” (Matthew 10:16). It was the necessary path that leads to the Promised Land.

But what I find common to all of these scenarios, is that the Shepherd is there with the sheep. In His presence, the sheep needn’t be afraid. His rod and staff – signifying both loving discipline and fierce protection – they bring great comfort. He is not afraid of the shadow of death; He is very acquainted with that shadow. He has already been crucified.

Since this is how Jesus shepherds His flock, then so will I have to learn His way. Living by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave His life for me. Trusting that, even through the valley, surely goodness and mercy will follow me, and us, all the days our lives.

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