Luke 2:15-16 “When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about. So they hurried off….’”
Leave your sheep and leave your lambs. Leave your ewes and leave your rams. Follow the star to Bethlehem. The Christmas carol “Rise Up Shepherd and Follow,” describes both the challenge and opportunity the shepherds faced that first Christmas. If they wanted to see where the Savior of all mankind was born, they had to abandon their flocks. It appears they realized something bigger was at stake than their livelihood, for the Scripture says “they hurried off.” They literally left everything on the field.
The term lay it all on the field has been lingering on my mind lately. I heard it a lot during football season from players, coaches, and even sportscasters. It’s a call to hold nothing back, to give your very best (and then some) in order to win the game. The implication is that if you give everything, there will be no regrets at the end of the season.
Christmas is about laying it all on the field. It applies to more than just he shepherds. Mary left her fear, security and reputation on the field… “I am the Lord’s servant…May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 2:38). Joseph forfeited his need for answers and clarity…“he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him….” (Matthew 1:28). But no one laid it all on the field more than God. “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all” (Romans 8:32). The splendor of absolute goodness and perfection was surrendered in order to secure our victory.
That same challenge and opportunity to lay it all on the field exists for us today. If we’re to follow the star to Bethlehem and discover the Messiah, we can’t be double-minded. Following means first fleeing from all that would hold us back—all manner of people, places and things.
So are there areas in your life that need to be laid on the field? Don’t hesitate. This Christmas…rise up mothers, fathers, grandparents…and follow. Rise up teachers, mechanics, cashiers…and follow. Rise up secretaries, businessmen, beauticians…and follow. Wherever God leads you…follow. He promises that in the end you will have no regrets if you lay it all on the field.