I saw this video posted on Facebook over the Christmas holiday. It’s some pretty impressive sheep herding, not to mention brilliant camera work and absolutely ingenious creativity. Amazing! But I have to admit the first time I watched it something stirred in me. I actually felt tears gathering in my throat. All I could think of as I watched it was, “That’s us!”
Instead of appreciating the incredible talent of the people who put this video together, I was identifying with the sheep. The sheep were the reason my throat was tight. And it’s not that I felt that the sheep were being mistreated or harmed in any way. It wasn’t that. All I could see was their incredible vulnerability. I missed the humor and creativity of the video because all I could see were dozens and dozens of sheep mindlessly moving from place to place. They were completely at the mercy of their shepherd and his whims. They didn’t know anything! They’re just running in one direction and then another. They were clueless to the bigger picture that was taking place all around them and that they were a valuable part of. They had no control over what part they played or when the lights on their backs would shine and when they wouldn’t. They were helplessly at the mercy of those leading them.
They are us! It’s no mistake that the Bible tells us over and over again that we are sheep. We’re not dogs or cats or lions or giraffes… we’re sheep. And any quick internet search will tell you that sheep are not the brightest of all God’s creatures. They NEED shepherds. They are dependent upon someone…someone greater than one of their own to lead them. So are we!
We think we’ve got a handle on things. We think we know exactly what direction our life is going and where we’re headed. We think that from our perspective we’ve got a good handle on how we fit in to the big picture. We even sometimes think that we can “turn on” our spiritual charm whenever we want and make an impact for God’s kingdom on our own without His help. But… the truth is, we’re sheep.
What choked me up as I watched this video was God’s amazing compassion for us! Why wouldn’t He want to focus instead on a group of brilliant and obedient sheep herding dogs? They’d come to Him immediately when He called them. They’d do whatever He wanted, be incredibly smart, and always be happy to see Him. Nope. He chose us. He saw us in our weakest, most helpless and rebellious state – when we were completely lost in sin – and He said, “Them. Those are the ones I want to be mine.” He loved us and cared for us and even spilled His own blood so He could have us.
We all need a shepherd. When you consider the vulnerability of sheep you have to hope that their shepherd is going to be good. Ours IS! My heart is heavy for those who are aimlessly wandering. Who think they have it all together but are without a shepherd… without our Shepherd.
While sheep are not generally known for their intelligence there is one quality that they do have that is somewhat unique in the animal realm. They have an ability to recognize faces. They know their shepherds.
We have to be sheep who know their Shepherd. First we need to remember that we NEED a Shepherd. While our intelligence might be slightly higher than sheep, we are still dependent upon a Savior. We need to hear His voice when He calls us and respond to His leading. We need to recognize that we may not know the big picture but our Shepherd does and He will lead us. And most of all we have to know how good He is! Even when our circumstances may tell us something different, we need to know and believe in His goodness and His deep, compassionate love for us. Then, as members of His flock He will empower us to be “lights” in the world.
Thank you Good Shepherd for being our Good Shepherd.