“The Shepherd’s Heart”
Submitted by Tim Young
Key text: 1 Peter 5:2-4
As a child, we raised sheep on our farm. I’d help with the daily feeding and watering of the sheep, and watch over those that were sick, or injured. Also, I’d keep track of those that had wandered off from the herd heading towards a patch of grass or wanting to wander aimlessly in the pasture.
Mom and Dad taught me you have to build trust amongst the herd, so they respond to you later. Your interaction and daily presence gave them the assurance you were not a threat to them, but a provider. Someone they could trust, looking out for their best interests.
I was taught one sheep was no more important than another. One that wandered away was of the utmost importance to make sure that lone sheep was brought back to the flock. There were always predators roaming around waiting to single one out. The loss of even one sheep was devastating to not only the herd, but to our family, because that represented loss of income, and loss of generations of breeding stock.
Interaction helped you to pick out the different personalities or tendencies of each sheep. Sometimes having to shoo away the more dominant ones, so the more passive ones got something to eat or drink. Also, finding the one or two that have the leadership qualities (I know it sounds weird!); the leader of the flock would bring them in from the pasture for the night, or steer them away from danger.
Are you building a relationship and trust among the flock you lead? Is one person more important than another? Are you constantly worried about predators separating the herd? Is there someone who has strayed from the herd, waiting for you to go out into the pasture, gather them in your arms and bring them back safely? Do you know a black sheep who longs to follow The Great Shepherd?