Be A Sheep
In my high school years, I belonged to a 4_H club called Backyard Farmers. We were a bunch of kids who lived in town, but had places to raise sheep. In my case, one of my grandpa’s had a place in town, just a bike ride away, that had a pasture for a cow or two and a smaller pasture where sheep could graze, a small feeding/watering area, and a shed they could go to at night or in bad weather.
Raising sheep in the 4-H world meant learning all about the process of marketing sheep. We would either purchase lambs in the spring or raise them from birth if we had a breeding ewe. We had to figure out their feed, keep them watered, keep their pen clean and filled with fresh hay, keep them cool in the summer (they do sport a wool coat all year!), sheer them (and then deal with the wounds left by flies biting them), trim their hooves so they wouldn’t get infected, and groom and train them to look and act their best when it came time to show them at the county fair in August and AKSARBEN (stock show) in the fall after which time they would be sold to market. Since our flock was small, it was almost like having pet sheep, but all the while we knew we’d have to sell them in the fall (with the exception of breeding stock) and start all over again the next spring.
As a shepherd, one quickly discovers how absolutely dependent your flock is on you. When they are hungry, they just stand there and bleat until you feed them. If we didn’t sheer them, they’d overheat. If we didn’t trim hooves, they’d get infected and they wouldn’t be able to walk well. One particular memory I have is a time when one of my lambs injured himself. He’d gotten tangled up in the barbed wire (probably looking for that greener grass on the other side) and partially tore off his ear. He just stood in the middle of the pasture bleating and bleeding. I got a call to come help him. He wouldn’t move and he wouldn’t go to anyone else. When I arrived, he still stood there bleating and bleeding, but he calmed down once I got to him. I sat with him for a while and tended to his wounds. In the arms of his shepherd, he felt secure. I’ve always had a soft spot for the goofy lamb.
That lamb is a great picture of how I am (or should be) with my Shepherd, Jesus. From day one, He has tended to my needs and cared for me. He guides my steps and gently prods me to the path He has prepared for me. He knows when I need to simply rest in His arms and be calmed by His presence. He knows that I need protection in a world filled with ‘barbed wires’. He wants to have an intimate relationship with me where my complete dependence on Him will bring rich blessings.
If only I would be more like a sheep and simply and completely place my life in His hands. I always take umbrage when I hear people call sheep ‘dumb’. These beautiful little creatures were created by God to be exactly what they are: dependent on their shepherd. (perhaps an example for us?) Sheep are simple: they follow the shepherd that cares for them.
We should all be so ‘dumb’!
Dawn Lubker, Ministry Assistant
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surelygoodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwellin the house of the Lord forever.