We watched in horror as a herd of 200 sheep threw themselves off the cliff while Farmer Oak looked on helplessly. “Far From the Madding Crowd” — a British romance — had started off with an especially graphic pivotal plot twist. And it most certainly confirmed what I had always heard about sheep.
Sheep follow the crowd, no matter what.
Jesus says we are like dumb sheep. Troubled and helpless. “Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them because they were troubled and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9.36)
Which stirs in Him compassion. He knows we need a Good Shepherd. Perhaps that’s why the Bible uses talks about sheep so much.
Sheep are kind of pathetic; they’re so dumb that they blindly follow others, even to destruction. Recently in Turkey hundreds of sheep plunged off a cliff – one following the other. The first 400 died and the next 1100 who followed them just landed on a soft heap of sheep bodies and survived. Farmers lost $74.000 just because the shepherd went off to breakfast.
Right about now I’m wondering whether this was the part of us that made Jesus think of sheep. How we can totally get carried away with the cause of the moment, the thrill of the week, the adventure of the season, and stupidly leave our brains behind.
Is there someone or something you need to stop following today?
Sheep are also wanderers. Because they look for grass in treacherous hills and through stony paths, the shepherd has to keep an eye on them all the time so they don’t stray. Not only that, the shepherd must be a protector against wild animals and even robbers who want to steal the sheep.
Finally, the most interesting thing I learned about sheep is that if they fall over on their backs, there is no way they can right themselves. They are totally helpless until someone comes to turn them over.
Have you ever fallen and been unable to retrieve your equilibrium on your own, either literally or figuratively? Then you need a Shepherd too.
The great news today is that Jesus, our Good Shepherd, is compassionate, caring and diligent to seek us out when we stray. “I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. I give up my life for the sheep.” (John 10.15)
No, I don’t particularly like being compared to sheep, but I love the idea of having a Shepherd.
May the grace of Christ, the love of God, and the friendship of the Holy Spirit bring you comfort and strength, Lucinda
“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity and Strength”
©2022 Lucinda Secrest McDowell www.LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com
Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” She has authored 15 books including “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” and “Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most.” She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and shares encouraging words at LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com