On Contemplating Sheep

My two daughters raised sheep one year for a 4-H project. Recently I am semi-stuck rethinking the lesson I learned from watching those two sheep. It came as I read a devotional. And now I am not sure I can any longer tell the story of that 4-H project in quite the same way.

I have told it with grand gestures, vivid words, keeping the memory sharp and clear. The stupidity of sheep was clear. They demonstrated that repeatedly. While the girls admitted to some affection for the two sheep, they also shared their frustration as they frequently restored the two sheep to close proximity, only to have one wander off, leaving the abandoned sheep baaing loudly and plaintively.

Back in the pen the girls would go and put the two sheep together nose to nose. They would speak sternly, telling the two sheep to stick together.

Now I wonder if sheep always long for sheep fellowship, and will pair up with any nearby sheep, showing no wisdom of choice. And how often do we humans do that same action?

My father always told me not to be a follower, not to be a dumb sheep, to be a leader. Being smart, intelligent, wise, and a leader ranked high on the right side of our family ledger. Average, adequate, not quite were on the not valued side. Failure had no place. I had no interest in being a sheep.

Until today as I read that devotional about the Good Shepherd. Always liked that image of the shepherd guarding his sheep, leaving to seek the one lost sheep. Who did I think the sheep represented?

I sat and thought. If I am not one of the flock of Christ's sheep, then I can't belong to the Good Shepherd. Maybe from God's perspective I am a sheep, wandering lost, confused, frightened or maybe I am so full of pride, I can't imagine being one of the Almighty God's sheep.

Where is the balance between being a sheep and living out my time and gifts for the Kingdom?

Mentally, I return to the fence surrounding those two lambs grown into sheep, ready for the annual 4-H show. I watch them and wonder how I missed the lesson of trusting the Good Shepherd by accepting that I am a sheep, prone to straying away.

For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1 Peter 2:25

Lord help me to read the many passages about sheep in your Bible with a more open heart. You are the perfect Good Shepherd and I am not even a faithful sheep. I trust you. Lead me my Good Shepherd.

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