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Church News Volume 4, Issue 8

Dear friends,

At the end of the latest Harry Potter film, Professor Dumbledore says 'It is not he abilities you have that make you what you I are it is the choices that you make.'

A modern amusing children's film suddenly takes on the nature of a morality play! We all know people who are in: occupations which they carry out with great ability. But there is a difference between those with ability, competent and efficient in their work and those who are good at their work. who see work not just as a means to an end (a pay packet at the end of the month).

In the Gospel Jesus talks about the contrast between the shepherds who are hired hands and the good shepherd. The hired hands are skilled and competent at being shepherds but have no real concern for the sheep in their charge. They are quite prepared to leave the sheep and run away when danger comes along. They are just doing their job for which they are paid nothing more. Of course we are wrong to assume that just because someone is paid to do a job that they have less interest or dedication. But Jesus' highlighting of the good shepherd as opposed to the hired hand, is one we can recognise from experience. How many times have you been left for what seems like an eternity listening to badly recorded music whilst in a telephone queue? Complained at levels of service, which of course are not what they used to be. How infrequently do we come across levels of service from people doing no more than just the minimum that their job demands, or little beyond what is efficient or economic? How we long to find service that we can describe as good? Jesus describes the qualities of the good shepherd worker. He knows the sheep as individuals. He protects them from danger. He is prepared even to lay down his life for them. The good shepherd is the one who goes beyond the minimum for which he is employed he gives of love and service to a high standard.

I don't think Jesus is just talking about one occupation though. He is speaking about an attitude which should he an essential part of life for all who choose to follow His teachings.

It is the concept of 'good work,' done with honesty and integrity, something that we can all recognise as being good. It is a contrast to work which is done grudgingly with only as much effort as is necessary to fulfil the duties required.

Those who follow the Good Shepherd, are required to show in our work, our recreation, and our relationships, that we are those who give more than just the bare minimum that is expected.

To give and not to count the cost to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labour and not to ask for any more reward save that of knowing that we are following the example of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Himself.

Revd Ian M. Finn

News Letter Archive.

Last Modified Sunday 04 March 2018