Today’s article is part of Brother Jerry’s series on the Life of Jesus.
After the angel of the Lord and the heavenly host announce the birth of Jesus, they return to heaven, leaving the shepherds alone in the field. The shepherds confer with each other and quickly agree — “We need to go and see this newborn Son of God.”
Relying on the sign given by the angel (“Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger”) the shepherds go into Bethlehem and, as the angel predicted, “found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12,15-16).
If you watch Christmas shows, this is typically the end of the story with everyone gathered around the manger with the baby Jesus. However, there is more to the story of the shepherds witnessing this blessed event:
“And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it [were in wonderment] at those things which were told them by the shepherds.” (Luke 2:17-18)
The shepherds went and told many people about seeing the angels and finding the Christ child. And the people were amazed! Perhaps some came to see for themselves.
The experience of the shepherds can serve as a model for us today. It can be summarized in four steps:
As we apply these steps to our own interactions with God, we should note how each step needs to be completed before moving on to the next one: First you HEAR and then you DO. Sometime after that, you will SEE. And then you have something to TELL.
HEAR (the Word of the Lord)
The shepherds received a message from an angel. A few of us may also receive messages from angels, but most of us receive direction through reading the Word of God, listening to sermons or lessons in church, and through some type of communication from the Holy Ghost within us.
Hearing the Word of the Lord isn’t limited to hearing a single one-time message — it also includes any of the things that we learn from serving God over our lifetime.
DO (what the Lord tells us to do)
As soon as the shepherds heard that Jesus was born and where He could be found, they immediately went and found Him. When the Lord inspires us to take a specific action (go somewhere, contact this person, etc.), we should do it without delay.
However, at other times, the Lord’s direction to us may consist of a more general approach that we should use in any situation in life. Two examples of this approach are praying without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17) and putting our trust in God rather than trusting in man (Psalms 118:8).
SEE (what the Lord does)
God doesn’t speak for no reason. If He has told us or taught us to do something, and we’re doing it, we should expect to see God in action in some way.
If the Lord has told us to do something specific, then we should expect that something good will happen as a result of taking that action. When we pray about something, we should expect that the Lord will respond in some way. When we trust in God, we should expect that it will become clear why trusting in Him was better than trusting in man.
If we examine the situation with a spiritual eye, then we’ll see God at work.
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).
TELL (what we have heard and seen)
When we go through all three of the steps described above, we have what we commonly refer to as a testimony.
It should be noted that all three steps do need to be completed before it becomes a testimony. A testimony is not about what I do (I heard, I prayed, I went here or there) but rather what God does after that. Here are some general examples:
- I heard the Lord calling. I gave my life to Him and He changed my life.
- After hearing about the power of prayer, I prayed for my sick relative and God healed her.
- I read in the scriptures about trusting in God. I chose to trust Him with this situation that had me very fearful and unsettled. God protected me and gave me peace.
It’s a great blessing to have a testimony because it means that God is working in our lives. However, we shouldn’t be selfish and keep the blessing to ourselves but instead seek opportunities to tell others about it.
Using statements like the above as conversation starters can open up opportunities to praise God and perhaps give someone else an opportunity to feel like the Lord is speaking to them, even beginning their own cycle of HEAR, DO, SEE, TELL.
So, don’t leave out this last step, or you may miss out on one of the greatest blessings we can experience — being used by God to bring someone else to Christ.
“And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen.” (Luke 2:20)
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.