Nearby is not nearly enough
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields near by, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.”
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 and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”
These shepherds did not know (until they were told) how near they were to the place God had for them.
There are people waking today saying, “I was just so close. I was nearly there, but I missed out!” There can be no greater frustration, no greater regret than being so close, so near to all God has for you and knowing it.
As we approach the end of this year I want to ask, what did it take for these shepherds to move from nearby to a place where they would be envied for generations? This is what I will be focusing on the next few days.
More importantly what is it going to take for us to get to where we could be in God?
What good is nearby?
Nearby is for commentators, for people who know the theory, who can talk a good talk, but nearby is not ‘there’.
Nearby can be caring for sacrificial animals which all point to a coming Messiah and yet isn’t close enough to be with the Lamb who had been born.
What good is nearby?
What good is it for a Church to be doing well? What does ‘doing well’ mean? Is it numbers? Finances? Ministries? Buildings filled at events? It is possible to ‘do well’ and not have seen Christ the Lord. These are never arrival points. These are signs of the Spirit, we are nearby, but there is still some distance between us and the presence of Christ the Lord.
Let’s make nearby our enemy. Nearby is not nearly enough.