Advent: December 16: The Good Shepherd

Psalm 51, 2 Samuel 7; Psalm 23

In the past couple years, I have become enamored with Babydoll Southdown Sheep. They are small, cute, cuddly, and very soft. They have a friendly personality, and they even have a permanent expression on their face that looks like a smile.

So, as every small landowner asks herself, I have been looking into what it would be like to be a shepherd. It turns out that being a shepherd is not an easy task, especially I our day in age. We have to buy the correct number of sheep for the correct about of pasture we have, decide what type of fencing and housing we will give them, and understand that we have to feed them grass, hay, mineral supplements, and water. Not only this, you have to think about rotating your pastures to avoid parasites and diseases, where to sell your sheep so you don’t become overcrowded, avoiding toxic plants, and guarding them from predators. Then, there is lambing season where you have to oversee the labor and delivery and post-partum care of the baby and mama. Then, de-worm, vaccinate, trim hooves, shear wool, and repeat.

Whew!

The rewarding part of shepherding is, the sheep. They know the shepherd, they love the shepherd, and the follow the shepherd’s voice. They know the shepherd has what is best for them in mind.

I then think about how Jesus is referred to as the “Good Shepherd” and we are his sheep. He cares for us, protects us, and makes sure we have all of our provisions, just as a shepherd does for the flock. Without the shepherd, we are prone to wonder, we are susceptible to the enemy, and we will struggle to find hope along the way in the midst of struggle.

Like sheep, we are a piece of work at times, but God smiles at us in joy. The more we come to know Him and His voice, the closer we follow Him and the brighter our hope and future becomes.

SEE GOD AROUND YOU

Put on a nice wool sweater and head outside with some cotton balls. Construct a 3-sided stable out of some sticks or wood. Use your cotton balls as sheep.

Put one cotton ball in the small stable you constructed. Think about what it would be like to live as a sheep alone in the cold, dark of winter.

Put 10 cotton balls in the small stable you constructed. Then, imagine you have a flock. You have others surrounding you to help, but you are still without direction.

Then, imagine a shepherd taking care of you, feeding you, and meeting your needs. Construct a fence, put in some water, and throw in some hay.

APPLICATION

How does it make you feel that you have the Good Shepherd watching over you? Do you follow God’s voice closely or are you prone to wander?

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