Scripture so often refers to Christians as sheep. Sheep are not quite the exemplary group in which to be compared. Why aren’t we likened to a noble steed of horses? How about loyal dogs? Clever monkeys? The Lord clearly has his reasons, and time and again, the scriptures call us just what we are…sheep.
Sheep follow the leader. They are easily led away and enticed. They are quick to fall prey to a lurking wolf. Sheep become stranded and lost, bleeting for help when they cannot loosen themselves from the cliff. Sheep are not independent thinkers. They are followers. They are led. They need to hear a shepherd’s voice. A little reflecting shows that indeed sheep are closer to us than we might care to admit.
The beauty of being a sheep in God’s economy is that we have an infinitely Good Shepherd. It is our delight to hear his voice and follow. It is our healing balm to be led by his staff and rod. He came to seek and save the lost. He laid down his own life for his sheep.
In Mark 6 we see the Good Shepherd’s heart. After ministering to the crowd all day, Jesus is tired and weary so he attempts to steal away for some down time. Yet the crowd pursues him. If it were me, I surely would have thrown a fit at the thought of my rest being infringed upon. I can think even now of “fits” I’ve thrown when my baby wouldn’t sleep, or my child asked for more help when I thought I’d given enough. How often I view their needs as impositions on my time and energy. Yet Mark 6:34 says, “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.”
As a Christian mother, I am an ambassador of the Shepherd. He has given me charge over my little flock, and while I am home caring for them, I take note. Like Christ, I need to have compassion on them. Tangible shepherding is when I serve and love them sacrificially by “teaching them many things” [about Him].
Somedays this seems like an impossible challenge for the mom of young children. Yet I find great comfort in Isaiah 40:12 “He tends his flock like a shepherd: he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” Our Good Shepherd is gentle with the lambs while at the same time gently leading those that have young. Indeed, He is infinitely good!