When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. Luke 2:15-20
Who have you told about Jesus? Anyone lately? Today we tend to be a bit shy about sharing the Good News but the shepherds told others what they had witnessed. They may not have been believed but they did not let that stop them from sharing. In fact Luke tells us that the people wondered about what the shepherds told them. Probably many thought that a bunch of shepherds were no to be believed. After all they were just shepherds. So I imagine than many people in and around Bethlehem missed the birth of their Messiah.
Sometimes people let the messenger get in the way of the message. Too often we let what someone does for a living or the way they look cause us to discount anything they say. A number of years ago, at least 15 years, we stopped at Wendy’s for lunch after church with our two youngest. Both were under ten. Two bikers came into the restaurant and sat near us. They both had scraggly beards and long hair and were wearing their colors. Grease under the fingernails, they looked out of place in a suburban Wendy’s. Everyone was staring but trying not to look like they were staring. I happened to notice the name of the “gang’ they were affiliated with and saw that it was Soldiers for Jesus. Hey, these guys were my brothers. Yes they could not have looked any more different but inside we both followed the same Lord.
Well as it happened both we and the two bikers finished our meals at the same time. I took the opportunity to introduce myself and also to introduce our kids to them. They showed us their bikes and we talked a bit about where we went to church. It was a teachable moment for me and my kids. I was able to show them that you did not need to dress in a suit and tie to be a believer. Jesus’ followers come in all shapes, sizes and dress. Too often we tend to judge other by how they look on the outside rather than how they are on the inside. I never saw those two guys again but I need to thank them for the opportunity they gave us that day.
Turns out there are a number of bike clubs that while looking like the stereotypical biker in the movies are Jesus disciples. They bring the Good News to people that unfortunately way too many churches would feel uncomfortable having in their building. I can’t help but think that is how the people of Bethlehem felt about those shepherds. In letting the shepherd’s appearance and occupation color their view of them many missed the birth of the King of Kings. We all need to think about what our prejudices have caused us to miss.
Have a blessed day,