You can’t walk very far through the Bible without hearing the bleating of sheep. The imagery of shepherds and sheep is everywhere. It’s a word picture that’s beautifully simple. A shepherd leads, feeds, tends and defends a flock. God is our shepherd. As God cares for us, He calls us to care for others.
All of us have a part in shepherding—whether among family, friends, coworkers, students, classmates, or congregations. To fulfill this God-given assignment, we’ll need more than a standard-issue rod and staff. We will need to continually remind ourselves of this one thing.
Shepherds are sheep.
We’re shepherds at heart, but sheep by nature. So, if we are to keep ourselves in shepherd-shape, we must keep ourselves in sheep-shape. If we are to feed our fellow lambs a nourishing meal, we must always be munching on pasture grass. If we are to give our fellow sheep a refreshing drink, we must always be lapping up water. And the only way we can lead other bleaters is by following our Good Shepherd.
We show others the Shepherd by expressing His heart. As shepherds, we’re like Him.
And we point others to the Shepherd by revealing our own hearts. As sheep, we need Him.
We too are hungry, thirsty, and needy. We stray, wander, get lost, and fall downcast.
A shepherd who forgets he is a sheep is really a sheep who has strayed from his Shepherd. We can only stay close to Jesus by walking on four legs.
Christ is the One who oversees His flock. He invites us to participate with Him as He cares for His own. And the more sheep-like we are, the better shepherds we’ll be.
Are you in sheep-shape?