There is a “great man” theory in history. The theory goes something like this: the path of history is molded and changed by the rise of certain “great men” who, by the sheer power of their wills, change the direction of cultures and empires. We picture men like Julius Caesar and George Washington when we think of great men. These men faced adversity. These men simply overcame it.
Every time I put on a pair of pants, the battle begins. My pants are always a little too short, which leads me to pull them down to cover the bottoms of my legs. When I pull them down, they now reveal that my shirts are never quite long enough. So I tug down on my shirt to cover up the fact that I have tugged on my pants to cover up my ankles. I almost never feel comfortable in my own clothes. I am not a great man!
The shepherds in Luke 2 were not “great men.” They weren’t even considered average men by the standards of the day. Night-working shepherds didn’t own the sheep. Their job was to sit around and simply make sure that nothing got in to kill the sheep. These were guys that had a job that few other people would want. There was nothing interesting or exciting about sitting out in the open all night watching for the occasional predator. The educated and capable men of the time would not have been lining up for this job. That left the rest of us for the work. If you use your imagination, you can probably hear how those conversations went out on the open plains at night. Let’s just say these men were not great men either.
Check out Luke 2:18, 20. “And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them . . . and the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” The shepherds were the first people God chose to tell the story of His Son. These men weren’t world changers. They weren’t people of influence. There weren’t great men. But their STORY was great!
God didn’t have to announce the birth of Jesus to the shepherds. Jesus actually didn’t start His public ministry for another thirty years. Most of the people who heard the story from the shepherds may have not been around by the time the Baby started to heal and teach the broken people around Him. But God deliberately chose these men. He chose them to show that the people who aren’t accepted by the rest of us matter to Him. They were the people He was thinking about when He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
If you are a Jesus-follower, your story is great. God has allowed you to be a part of something much bigger than yourself. Don’t let the fact that your clothes don’t fit quite right and your words don’t seem to come out right keep you from telling the story of what God has shown you! God has chosen you to be a part of His plan to change eternity. When you battle with how you fit, remember that God has invited you into the story that defines history.