Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Good Shepherd


Walking With the Lord is a weekly pause we take here at Ruby in the Rough to focus on the things of the Lord. Sometimes it will be a devotional, a poem, or a lesson from our church that stood out as being particularly applicable.
Cattle can be driven, sheep must be lead.
Today I was reading in John chapter 10, which is the part where Jesus talks about being the Good Shepherd. I read the bit of commentary that goes along with the verses, there wasn't a whole lot but one sentence stuck with me--the one above.

Why do sheep follow their shepherd? Because they love him. There really is no other reason. It used to be that several herds of sheep could be kept in the same fold, but each herd would follow only the voice of their own shepherd--none of the other shepherds. Why is this? Because only their own shepherd knew them by name. Only their own shepherd loved them. Only their own shepherd spent time with them. And because their shephard first loved them, the sheep love him. Therefore, they will follow him wherever he calls.

Now, in the case of cattle, I have never heard of a herd of cattle following a person because they loved him. Perhaps it has happened, I don't know. But, after living on a ranch for several years, I do know that the usual way to move cattle is by driving them from one place to another. If one cow goes the wrong way, she won't turn around obediently when you call. No, she wouldn't come back in a million years. Rather, you send two or three quick young fellows after her to drive her back.

 I wonder how often you and I act more like cattle than like sheep in our spiritual lives. How often do we expect God to drive us before Him? We expect that if God wants us to do something then He will simply make it impossible for us to do anything else. When we pray, this is reflected. We never consider the relationship with God, but rather pray that if God expects us to do something for Him (or, really, if He wants us to do anything specific other than what we would natuarally want to do),that He would close every other door and force us through the way He wants us to go. Granted, we may not think of it precisely like that, but I have heard many prayers (and prayed many myself) that reflect this very attitude.

We expect God to drive us before Him.This is not how it is meant to be! Rather, we should be sheep instead of cattle. You see, with cattle, the relationship between the cattle driver and the cow doesn't matter a whit. However, the relationship between the sheep and the shepherd is of utmost importance. Sheep never have to be driven, because they follow willingly. Anywhere their shepherd goes is good enough for them, because they love their shepherd.

 Anywhere my Jesus calls me I should go willingly, as should any of His sheep. Of course, this means that we must know His voice. We must recognize how He speaks to us, and be listening to Him. A sheep will drop everything it is doing if its shepherd calls (and while grazing or napping doesn't seem very important to us, I'm certain it seems very important to the sheep). We should be willing to drop everything if our Shepherd calls, and listening for His call every moment.

originally published January 28, 2006

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