Acts 20:28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock that the Holy Spirit has appointed you to as overseers, to shepherd the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood.

Before take off in a plane, one hears the safety information. The bit about oxygen masks seems to be relevant as it ties in to today’s text. It follows along the lines of ‘in the event of a drop in cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the panel above your heads… If you are travelling with children, make sure you put YOUR mask on first before helping with theirs’

We might find contrasts in scripture with St Paul admonishing us to prefer others to ourselves, yet in today’s message, we need to be on top of game to be any help to others. Paul tells the church ‘guard yourselves and the flock entrusted to you’. Notice the order: you and then the flock.

The shepherd is the gatekeeper- when he stands, the flock is protected. He can only protect them when he is well enough to. As much as others matter in our lives, we need to learn to also put ourselves on the priority list. We may be spiritual, but that does not make us invincible because on earth, we are still ‘men’.

So beloved, even though your life is hid in Christ and Christ, you also have a guardianship role to play. You won’t always get it right, but strive first to guard yourself: your health, your senses, your growth, your relationships, your walk and your talk. And after you are guarded, you can stand to guard the flock because you simply cannot give what you do not have.


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