Following the Shepherd’s Lead

By Barry Davis

[1]Kitty Anderson told the story about Jerry, whose parents own a sheep farm, who frequently took a few days off from work every spring to look for sheep. She asked why he would have to look for sheep. Don’t they know how to get home?

He told her that whenever a pregnant ewe goes into labor, she immediately sits down. But if she is facing downhill when she sits, she will stay in that direction, fighting against gravity to push the lamb out of the womb. If no one helps her, she will die in that position rather than simply turn around.

Jerry said every night his family has to carefully count the pregnant sheep. When even one ewe is missing, the whole family goes out to search for her. They either bring her home or stay with her until her labor is over. If the weather is harsh, they have to build a shelter around her, while using their bodies to keep her warm.

We, as pastors, are like that stubborn animal. We often face trials in ministry with the attitude that we can conquer the obstacles by ourselves. We fear for the flock God has given to us and worry about the various trials and tribulations in their lives. We fret over whether or not they are faithful. Perhaps it is a matter of pride, or of being overly self-confident, but we feel that there is something that we must do, say, or pray, that will lead our sheep in the right direction. The good news for us, as well as for our flock, is that Jesus has the answers for every single one of them.

If we would just stop, as under shepherds, and look to our lead Shepherd, we will discover that we can solve our problems by simply turning around and following His lead. God has a simple solution already prepared for us. We are not the solution makers, but our Shepherd is. Consider the following four truths, and acknowledge that God has this under control!

TRUTH #1 — REMEMBER THAT JESUS PURCHASED THEM—AT THE CROSS

“So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders.” — Acts 20:28 (NLT)

TRUTH #2 — REJOICE THAT JESUS SEEKS AND SAVES THEM—BY THE GOSPEL

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders.” Luke 15:4-5 (NLT)

 TRUTH #3 — ACKNOWLEDGE THAT JESUS KNOWS AND MARKS THEM—BY HIS SPIRIT

 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me.” John 10:14 (NLT)

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 (NLT)

 TRUTH #4 — TRUST THAT JESUS FEEDS AND LEADS THEM—THROUGH HIS WORD

He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.  He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. — Psalm 23:2-3 (NLT)

 

[1] Kitty Anderson, Lakewood, California

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