Sunday, April 18, 2021

Investing in the shepherd

Propers for the second Sunday after Easter

Sermon for the second Sunday after Easter

How do you make money these days?

One way is to invest in a growing business. You put money into a small business and, as it grows, you receive money back - a return on your investment.

It's how the multi-millionaires have made their fortune.

But would you invest in sheep?


This might not be a bad idea if the flock that you have produce the best milk, meat or wool. Looking after your flock will ensure that the quality of produce is raised and secured. It takes time, effort and care to maintain your flock well: you have to invest yourself well in order to receive a good profit. 

By contrast, anyone the shepherd hires to help look after the sheep only does so for payment. The hireling isn't invested in the sheep, rather in the money he receives for his work.

If a shepherd has to invest himself in his sheep in order to make his livelihood, why does Our Lord describe Himself as a Good Shepherd?


If Jesus is our shepherd, why does He invest Himself so much in us? Do we produce something that He needs from us like a sheep produces milk, meat or wool?

It's clear that God does invest so much in us. He creates us, feeds us, and seeks us out when we go astray. He is there with us. So great is His love for us that He invests His very self by becoming one of us in order to keep us safe from the ravening wolves and to feed us with His very self.

God literally pours His blood, sweat and tears into us. And for what?

Here's the thing.

God doesn't need us. He doesn't need our worship. There's nothing that we can give Him to increase what He already has for He has everything.

What return on His investment can there be?


The only thing that God gains from creating us is us. The only thing that comes from God looking after us is that we live. This means that we matter more than we can understand. It means that being human is in itself a return on whatever God has invested in us. It means that the freedom to choose that He allows us is worth more to Him than His Divinity because He chooses to become like so that we can become like Him.

Even if we choose to reject Him, He can still take pleasure in us because we exist and because He continues to care for us. 


Human investment can only work because we always ask, "what's in it for me?" All of our investment in any project is based on our gain and so we cannot understand fully what God gets from us save that we are worth caring for. That's all we know: we are worthy of God's love because He indeed loves us.


And what do we get if we invest everything we have in God? 

Nothing less than God Himself.

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