So yesterday I had the privilege of spending some time learning about the interest of two little girls I consider my “adopted daughters.” They are into showing sheep. And I knew nothing (and still don’t know much) about this sport. I watched and tried to learn, but I think one needs more than what the eye can see to understand. As I asked some questions and started to get a small understanding of what was going on, a bigger thought came to me. Jesus called us sheep many times in the bible, so I started observing the sheep and their characteristics, because I wanted to see what Jesus thinks of us. It doesn’t take long to be around sheep to start getting the idea that they are pretty oblivious to what is going on around them. And that they are very vulnerable and easily “handled.” I don’t mean that they mind well or that it was easy for my 9-year-old “adopted daughter” to make them behave. What I mean is for a larger animal she was able to push it where she wanted it to go and get a hold of its head to get control of its will (you might be starting to see where I’m going).
Myself, being an animal lover, wanted to look into the eyes of the sheep to see if more was going on than what appeared. As I searched the eyes of some of these animals I really didn’t see a lot of depth. I saw that they were maybe a bit frightened. I saw that they were concerned with the baaa-ing of the other sheep. I saw that they paid too little of attention to their care-givers. I saw that they tried to escape from their owners. I saw that they didn’t really have a long view of their day, they seemed to be pretty short-sighted. I also noticed that they would give way to almost any that decided to gain control and lead them. There was very little resistance to switching leaders, regardless if that leader was a child or a seasoned sheep owner. If there was any resistance, it seemed to be purely impulse and not due to loyalty to a particular handler. They seemed quite impulsive period.
As I sought to put application to these findings I was both humbled and disappointed in us. Let’s face it, many of these characteristics are easily seen in us humans towards our Shepherd. Sheep are sheep, God didn’t create them to be genius’, but they are very much a picture of our obliviousness to what is going on in our world, and the perspective we too many times have about why we exist.
It was a neat thing to watch my “girls” ‘do their thang’ with these sheep. I love being a part of their lives and seeing my naturally born daughters experience new things with their friends. However, as I was reminded thru these animals of my inadequacy, I did feel sad that this is the view our Lord has of us. In my mind I was hoping He saw a faithful steed, or a loyal “man’s best friend” for those that truly were seeking to follow Him…not a vulnerable, easily swayed, short-sighted sheep.
On the other side of the fence, however, were ‘sheep-people.” The people showing, leading and caring for these sheep didn’t care that they had lack of depth. They loved ‘doing their thang.’ They didn’t need loyalty, great intelligence or strength from these animals to make them want to care for them. They didn’t seem to need anything from them except that they be. The sheep’s value was not in what they produced so much as it was in what they were in the sight of their owners and judges. Now this application was uplifting.
As I apply those characteristics of the “shepherds” to our Great Shepherd (our Owner and Judge), I was overwhelmed with thankfulness. Happy to be loved not for what I produce but just because I be. We only need trust in our Savior to be one of His sheep.
I also got a new understanding for the verse Roman 1:20 “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and deity; so that they are without excuse:” When we are looking with the right desire we can see God and His plan everywhere, all around us, and in all things He created. I pray for those who are not His sheep, to look around, call out to Him, know that He desires to be your Shepherd and you to be His sheep. But unlike the literal sheep, we have to make a decision to depend and trust on Him in order to be in His flock, because He desires His sheep to love Him back thru acknowledgement of His unconditional love for us.
Thank You Father for allowing me to “have eyes to see” and for the fellowship of friends to take me to new places.
May your Sunday be blessed with “eyes to see” and fellowship with the brethren to be taken to new places.