Cattle and pigs had some general similarities. One they were bigger than me, so it was a bit scary standing between them and where they wanted to go. But that's what we did...we'd chase them from one barn or pen to another. And when they got out, which seemed to happen way more then as a farmer's daughter than now as a farmer's wife, we chased them to where they needed to be. This didn't always work the first time and ocassionally involved a bit of chaos (us girls will never forget the time a pig ran thru my mom's legs and took her for a ride), but it's how we got them where they needed to go.
Now sheep, on the other hand, were a much different story. My dad often told us, "You can't chase a sheep!" And for my non-farming friends, that statement is true. When we needed to move sheep, we took a much different approach...we got a bucket of corn, went to where they were, gave it a little shake and often simply started walking to where they needed to go. Sounds crazy, but this worked. My dad would even lead them down the gravel road like this for a few miles to our neighbor's pasture. He'd just station us girls and my mom at intersections or field drive-ways. I still remember one time the mail-man having to wait for us...definitely not the typical reason mail was running late!
These memories have come back to me over the last couple of weeks. My kids are raising my dad's orphan lambs and they like to take them for walks. They pretty much turn into pets and they lead them around the yard just like a dog. This doesn't take much, if any, training; it seems being led comes natural for even the littliest lambs.
The picture from my childhood also came to mind Sunday as our pastor preached on Jesus leading us and yesterday as I did my Bible study and focused on God as our Shepherd. Friend, the Bible refers to us as sheep for a reason. I use to think it was simply because they can be a hard headed, not so intelligent animal, but I'm beginning to think the reason is deeper than that!!
When you observe some of the tendencies and characteristics of this woolly little animal, so can see there is a connection. Sheep need a shepherd, they are dependent, they tend to flock together and go where they are led. Perhaps sometimes we need to be more like them!
Psalm 23 says, "The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not be in want." Friend, just like my dad cares for and goes above and beyond for his sheep, God does the same for you and me. There's not much you can force a sheep to do, but with patience and gentleness you can guide and lead them. God does the same with and for us. His Word tells us so...
|The Good Shepherd loves us even more!|