Harassed? Feeling Helpless? You need a Shepherd!

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Jesus’ words I read from John 10 this morning are needed in my life right now.  “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11, NIV)  Within my sphere of responsibility, there are multiple challenges that are in need of answers. Will I try to be God, forcing solutions into place, or will I let the Shepherd lead, as I trust Him? As I mused on that passage, my mind went back a half-century to a sweet memory and a lesson.

When I was a little boy, my dad took me with him to Wyoming, to a remote area, where we visited shepherds tending huge flocks of sheep! Prior to entering vocational ministry, Dad was a livestock dealer and traded mostly in sheep. In the mountains around Buffalo, WY, I met rough-looking men who were dedicated to the care of their sheep 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They lived alone in little mobile houses for months on end, putting the sheep first, over their own needs. These men, helped by their amazing dogs, made certain that their flocks were safe and provided with pasture.

Their constant presence caused those sheep to respond even to their voice! I watched as a single shepherd called his flock, sent his dog to round up stragglers, and moved hundreds of sheep from place to place in open range. Unlike cattle which can exist with only minimal attending, sheep without a shepherd will inevitably die! They are defenseless when attacked by predators. They will over-grazing the land exhausting their food supply.  Sheep must have a shepherd!

God calls us the ‘flock of His pasture.’ He knows that we are in need of Shepherding. Without care, we die. Even if we have all we need right now, without guidance we will get stuck and fail to move ahead in life. Jesus saw the need of the people that he lived with observed, “they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36, NIV)

Our world is full of people who would ‘shepherd’ us. They call to us, inviting us to follow them. Some are earnest, some in it only for themselves. Jesus warns “A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. He’s only in it for the money. The sheep don’t matter to him.” (John 10:12-13, The Message)

Jesus promises care that leads to our wholeness and safety.  “I am the Gate for the sheep. … Anyone who goes through me will be cared for-will freely go in and out, and find pasture. … I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary.” (John 10:7-11, The Message) Go back and read that passage again.

Are you head-strong, running off on your own, ignoring the Shepherd? To do brings only peril.  Savor the promise of His care. Listen and learn to hear His voice. “After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.” (John 10:4, NLT)

Here’s a familiar word from the Word. Don’t rush through it even though it is one of the most familiar passages in the Scripture.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.

He guides 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.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
(Psalm 23, NIV)

_____________________

Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us

(Enjoy a mellow presentation at this link)

Savior, like a Shepherd lead us;
Much we need Thy tender care.
In Thy pleasant pastures feed us;
For our use Thy folds prepare.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus!
Thou hast bought us; Thine we are.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus!
Thou hast bought us, Thine we are.

 We are Thine; do Thou befriend us;
Be the Guardian of our way.
Keep Thy flock; from sin defend us;
Seek us when we go astray.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus!
Hear thy children when they pray;
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus!
Hear Thy children when they pray.

Savior Like A Shepherd Lead Us
Bradbury, William B. © Public Domain

 

 

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