The best chance we have at helping someones soul heal, is to choose the discomfort of seeing the truth of their pain and seeing their suffering.
There is no way to be a lamp if we refuse to enter the darkness. Bright, sunny places don't need a lamp.
There is no way to be a lifeboat if we stay dry, safe, and tied up close to the shore. Those standing at the shore, don't need a lifeboat.
There is no way to be a ladder if we're afraid to leave ground. Those standing with two feet planted on solid ground, don't need a ladder.
The work of a shepherd is two-fold.
A shepherd knows his/her flock. If you know someone, are you not more likely to enter the darkness to help them? After knowing his flock, a shepherd puts the safety of his flock as first priority. A shepherd provides protection above all.
Jesus said in John 10, “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary."
Walking out of our homes like a shepherd means knowing those around us (knowing their struggles, their pain, their suffering) and being willing to be uncomfortable and awkward and vulnerable.
Knowing them eventually leads us into our roles as lamps, lifeboats, and ladders.
There never seem to be opportunities to be these things to people we haven't ever tried to know.
Rumi isn't my teacher, but Jesus is. I have been learning that Jesus asks us to take our insecurities, our places of weakness and uncertainty (fear) - and risk some things - in order to be a lamp, or a lifeboat or a ladder.
Let's do this friends, walk out of your house like a shepherd.