Tuesday, March 15, 2016

You can't chase a sheep!

Life on the farm is rarely boring. Something is always happening...cattle getting out, pigs needing to be moved and sheep looking for a new pasture. Growing up, I had experience with each of these types of animals and it didn't take long to learn the best ways to move them.

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...
God will show me the path of life. (Psalm 16:11)
God will instruct me and teach me in the way I should go. He will guide me with His eye. (Psalm 32:8)
My steps are ordered by the Lord. (Psalm 37:23)
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)
I trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. In all my ways I acknowledge Him and He directs my paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
I shall hear a word behind me, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever I turn to the right or the left. (Isaiah 30:21)
Thus says the Lord, my Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.” (Isaiah 48:17)
The Lord will guide me continually. (Isaiah 58:11)
I follow Jesus so I shall not walk in darkness, but I have the light of life. (John 8:12)
I hear Jesus’ voice and He calls me by name and leads me out. Jesus goes before me and I follow him, for I know his voice. I will by no means follow a stranger. (John 10:3-5)
The Spirit of truth has come and He is guiding me into all truth. He will tell me things to come. (John 16:13)
I am led by the Spirit of God for I am a son of God. (Romans 8:14)

Friend, our Good Shepherd is willing to lead us, but our willing to follow? Look for Him today and listen for His voice. Decide now to follow His lead! He's not just leading us down a path, He is taking us where we need to go. He's planned it all out and understands where we need to be and is able to provide all we need! Don't make Him chase you...it will never work! He is the Good Shepherd, let Him lead you! (Sidenote - if you want to share more about Psalm 23 with a child you love, I suggest getting the book, Sammy and His Shepherd - it's a good one! My kids love it and so do I!)
The Good Shepherd loves us even more!


  1. Wow! I absolutely LOVE this post. I especially appreciate how you took the characteristics of sheep and our Father and took us to verses that brought them alive. You need to put all this together in a book one day ... life on the farm. Just sayin'. :)


    1. Thanks Wendy!! Your words about a farm book made me laugh...for years I never wanted to live on a farm and vowed to never marry a farmer, but God. Well He had different ideas, I'll have to pray and see if this book is His idea!

  2. SUCH a beautiful, encouraging post, Jill! xxo