As Christ has described himself as “the shepherd” (John 1: 1-10), we can obviously draw the conclusion that we are His sheep. Paul (Romans 1:1) calls himself a “slave to Jesus Christ.” Niether of these, on the surface, seem appealing to a first time on-looker. In fact, I’ve had both these descriptors turned against me at some point in time by people of a different, or no faith at all. My favorite is “You’re mindless sheep, following blindly.” So, what is the one thing that binds a shepherd and his sheep above all others?
Faith = ??
Hopefully you answered the question above with one answer that is a keystone to our faith…trust. “Jesus, I Trust in You.” Sometimes that is my entire prayer for the day. Sometimes it takes me saying it over and over again before I can even begin to not only believe it, but do it. I’d like to flip the coin for one second when it comes to this concept. Would God consider you a trustworthy person? Enough to be a shepherd? Adam’s son Abel was a shepherd, so was Abraham, Jacob, and Moses. Big shoes to fill, right. Think of those shepherd and ask yourself, are you a good shepherd? Where do you fall short? What do you think your kids would say to that question?
What’s in it for Me?
Consider the relationship between the shepherd and his sheep, what exactly does the sheep offer the shepherd. We know the sheep rely on their shepherd for their safety, well-being, heck…for their total existence really. But what exactly does the sheep offer to this relationship? Well, they provided food (1 Samuel 14:32), milk to drink (Isaiah 7:21-22), wool for clothing (Job 31:20), hides for rough clothing (Matthew 7:15), and leather for tents (Exodus 26:14). So ask yourself this, what do you offer your shepherd? Start with the obvious, Jesus Christ, but extend that offering to the other “shepherd” in your life like your pastor, your parents, big brother or sister, mentor, or even a close friend. What have you done, or what do you offer, to the shepherds in your life?
The Shepherd’s Prayer
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.