Sheep or Shepherd

4 May

Am I a sheep or am I a shepherd?

I think sheep are cool animals. I love their gentle eyes and their soft ears and the plump wool coat they wear unless it is shearing time. I still remember being a young girl at the county fair daring to bend over a sheep pen railing to plunge my fingers deeply into the wool on the back of a grown sheep. It was so thick!

Sheep have an interesting life cycle in that a mama will carry her young for five months and then she gives birth. The sheep’s lifespan is 10-12 years and they are herd dependent. They flock together not in a foolish feeling of fear, but rather because they love to be together for protection of one another and to care for one another. I love that they are community minded and that their strength comes in numbers. In a sheep community, though, those who tend to the animals will tell you that they are individuals with personalities, needs, wants likes and dislikes; just like us!

The shepherd has a very important job in the care and guiding of the sheep. That job is one of the oldest professions in the world. A shepherd is required to keep all animals safe, organized, peaceful and well fed. A shepherd may likely be in charge of a flock of up to 1000 sheep! The shepherd’s work is often lonely if human companionship is a priority since being in isolated areas away from urban centers is likely to be the expectation. This is probably why a good shepherd keeps track of the numbers, but a great shepherd knows some differentiation in the numbers and that different sheep may have different interests and needs. The shepherd’s likely companion is a herding dog to assist in the management of the crowd. Teamwork!

Who am I, sheep or shepherd? Do I love being in the crowd or do I love leading the crowd? Maybe it is much more than that. Maybe it is not an either or question, but maybe it is an interpretive one—maybe I have to be willing to be both. As God shepherds me while I navigate life in the herd, perhaps there are times he will desire me to be the shepherd –guiding others to know him and his ways for the transformation of the world. To do this well, I better understand the needs and desires of the individual before I urge them to join the flock.

I guess on some days I will be the sheep and on other days, I will be the shepherd. I feel prepared to be both.

One thing I do know is this:

I have a shepherd. He knows me. He tends to me and is aware of my comings and goings. I lean on his teachings and guidance as often as possible. That guidance helps me know my role each day—sheep or shepherd? In either role, I feel cared for and loved.

Sheepy Sheep Sheeps. And other stories… | Perish &Fade
Sheepy Sheep Sheeps. And other stories… | Perish &Fade

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