Summary: Whatever happened to those shepherds after "they went back to their fields and flocks?"
"The shepherds went back to their fields and flocks..." Luke 2:20
Have you ever wondered what became of those shepherds?
The Bible doesn’t give a whole lot more information about them. Well, it does say, they went glorifying and praising God. And I suppose any detail beyond that is somewhat anti-climatic. For what higher calling is there than to glorify and praise God?
Some of you learned the Westminster Catechism question "What is the chief end of man?" And the answer is, "The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever."
So there’s not a lot more about the shepherds that we actually NEED to know. They were glorifying God!
Still that doesn’t really turn off my curiosity switch-not at all! Inquiring minds want to know. So I did a little poking around for some extra information.
Now, what I’m about to tell you isn’t exactly in the Bible; so you can take it for what you think it’s worth.
But I found out a little about four of the shepherds. I’m sure there were more but this is what I could dig up.
One of the shepherds-and we don’t actually have a name for him-was so affected by the whole angel and baby thing that he was unable to go back to shepherding-long term that is.
He took a shepherds sabbatical so he could process it all. He traveled the world visiting gurus in India and monks in Tibet. He went to see the great wonders of the world--studied philosophy--then psychology-then astronomy--all with the intention of trying to explain what happened that night!
Frankly, he wasn’t very successful as either a seeker or a scholar. And, of course, the irony is that if he had stuck around in Judea for awhile he would have seen and heard from Jesus himself what it was all about. But he was off at some self-actualization seminar when Jesus started trekking through the region proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand.
A second shepherd was a man named Benjamin. And by the way, he is one of the two shepherds for whom I actually found a name. Benjamin also decided to leave the area-not to seek out answers regarding the angelic encounter. But he went out to give answers.
He put together a seminar on angels (most attendees were women). And being that he was a bit of an entrepreneur Benjamin came out with a line of angel t-shirts and bumper stickers. Then for awhile he ran an angel gift shop in a mall over in Sidon but that wasn’t a very big hit. So he went back on the road.
All of this traveling didn’t do much for his family life-he married and divorced two or three times. But Ben was very zealous and committed to his work. And he genuinely wanted everyone in the world to know that there really were beings called angels-and that they somehow they were connected to the meaning of life.
Ironically, other than that one night on the hillside outside Bethlehem, Benjamin never had another angelic encounter.
Eventually he ended up, through a rather bizarre series of events in Lapland. A couple of Scandinavian shepherd friends who had worked around Bethlehem for awhile-invited him to come up for a visit. Well, to make a long story short Benjamin ended up in Lapland where he became a reindeer herder--of all things.
Then the last anyone down in Judea heard from him, he was trying to figure out some way to use reindeer as a means for promoting his angel businesses. He even came up with an idea about using reindeer to pull a sleigh and he’d somehow cris cross the planet giving lectures on angels or something like that. But as I said, no one is quite sure what became of old Benjamin.
A third shepherd went back to his flocks and stayed in the sheep business - thinking of the angels every night. Quite truthfully, he was hoping for a repeat performance and he thought that his best chances would be out in the fields with the flocks. For that’s where the angels had appeared before.
He prayed and prayed that God would send angels again.
But they never came back and he became somewhat disillusioned as he grew older-although he spoke often of the past-the good ole days-when angels appeared.
When some friends invited him one night to go hear John-the-Baptist, the fiery evangelist who was drawing crowds down by the Jordan, the aging shepherd declined to go.
He preferred to stay out with the sheep just in case the angels came again. "Besides," he said under his breath, "what could some eccentric preacher have to say to someone who has seen angels?"
The fourth shepherd returned to Bethlehem the next morning after the great event. He was hoping to catch another glimpse of the special baby. But he couldn’t find the family, which was a major disappointment because he had a bag of wool as a present for the young mother. But they were gone.