Encouraged by the Shepherd

Spot of Grace

January 11, 2017 

Encouraged by the Shepherd

Hi there and happy New Year!

When I was a youth pastor in Dawlish, England, I had the opportunity to work part time on a farm. The farmer was a friend who attended our church and put me to work doing various tasks. A sheep farmer had rented some land from my friend, so one afternoon I had the unique opportunity of herding sheep and moving them from one end of the farm to the other. Having grown up in a big city in England, I had no idea what I was doing. But I learned quickly that sheep are not smart. They blindly follow each other. They prefer following each other than following the shepherd. At one point we had to herd them across a partially frozen section of a little brook. We ushered them into the free flowing water that was maybe an inch and a half deep and four feet wide. But one of the sheep made a break for it and hit a patch of ice and fell over on his side and slipped into a hedge. It was funny to start with, but that changed quickly. What do you think the sheep who were behind him did? They quickly followed right along behind him and one by one they joined their buddy against the hedge with legs thrashing in all directions. What a mess! It took quite some time to get them all sorted out and moving on as a group again.

In John 10 we have an amazing picture: Jesus describes Himself as the good Shepherd. In verse 11 He says that He is the Good Shepherd. That sounds great, doesn't it? But think about that picture for a moment. If He is the Shepherd, what does that make us? We are His sheep!  That’s not a very flattering picture at all, but if you think about it, it is an accurate one. We are so prone to follow each other rather than Him. We are prone to not make the best decisions, even when we see others crash.

Think about what a shepherd does. A shepherd protects the herd. His job is to keep them safe. The Shepherd stands between the sheep and whatever is a danger to them. The shepherd is in charge. He directs the sheep. He leads them as He knows best. He understands a whole lot more than the sheep do. Jesus is our Good Shepherd because He cares deeply about His sheep. He knows the sheep by name and He knows their tendencies.

Think about this verse:

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:11

I encourage you to allow the Good Shepherd to lead you.

Have a good week

Pastor Glyn