The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. Psalms 23:1
My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me. And I will give unto them eternal life… John 10:27-28
Angel, person, or animal—all wonderfully created by God. Person-wise, I most identified with OLD Zacharias, and his stubbornness and disbelief. Even when talking to the angel Gabriel and “standing in the very presence of God,” Zacharias, probably like I would, asked, “How can I be sure?”
Yet, having grown up on a farm, I have always loved animals—S-o-o- a donkey or a sheep. Family consensus—a natural DONKEY! But I have fond memories of sheep and baby lambs from visits with a favorite great-uncle who raised sheep.
Some would say that sheep are foolish...slow to learn...restless...prone to wander...are dependent and, therefore, I would observe, very much like me as I have traveled along life’s journey. As I further studied this matter, I began even to think in the first person of a sheep and would add that “we” sheep also are “…gentle...do not get angry...do not complain … do no harm to any other creature… are totally dependent on our shepherd and always recognize our shepherd’s voice.” We are mentioned in the Bible more than any other animal—over 500 times and were privileged to be the first to see the Baby Jesus in his manager. Jesus is our Father’s Son, is The Great Shepherd, and is OUR Shepherd! And, when I wander, and I do, and I will, my Shepherd finds me and brings me home safely.
When in our church parlor, my eyes always drift over to the beautiful painting above the fireplace with the 15 or so sheep and their shepherd. Somehow my gaze naturally fixates on the sheep farthest from the path, wandering far over to the right, and probably needing the most supervision (even looks a little bit like me!).
So it is actually quite special to be a not-very-smart, wandering, dependent sheep—knowing that I am blessed and always under the watch of THE Great Shepherd who will guide me safely Home.
Prayer: Our Dear Heavenly Father, we celebrate THE Arrival of a new baby boy born in a stable, the arrival of new life for his bewildered, yet trusting, parents, AND the arrival of “New Life” for all of mankind. Please guide us in this New Year as your people, the sheep of your pasture, always knowing that there is only One flock, One Shepherd. Amen.
About the Contributor
David P. Berry is a Ruling Elder, humbly serving the Good Lord, thankful to have a loving wife, Louisa, with whom we raised our 4 children with much help from First Presbyterian. We are blessed to soon be a family of 13!