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June 9 -- "It's a Lot of Work for the Shepherd"

We continue working our way through the beloved Psalm 23. Enjoy and God bless, Dan

Psalm 23:1-3:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.”

These words fill us with a sense of peace, don’t they? But know this: these comforting words come to us by way via a very high cost for the shepherd. I think we often forget the fact that it wasn’t, and isn’t, always easy for the shepherd to get the sheep to that place of peace.

Jesus paints us another picture of a shepherd’s life, in Luke, chapter 15. He tells about a shepherd who has worked all day to get the sheep to the present location. It is a good place, offering green pastures to eat from and still waters to slay their thirst. All is good ... until the shepherd counts the sheep, as they move past him into this picturesque land and finds the count is ninety-nine! Now all is not good. In fact, it is all wrong, for one sheep is missing. This rugged shepherd who had hopes of getting out of the heat and resting his weary body underneath the shade of a tree, is gone. There’s an old saying, “No rest for the weary,” and that holds true at this moment for the shepherd, for he knows he has to act immediately because a lone sheep in the wilderness is soon a dead sheep.

The shepherd makes he way back into the wilderness. He hears, before he sees, what is happening. It is the sound of an aggressive wolf. The shepherd tops the knoll and sees below him a small lamb trying to back itself into a large growth of bramble. It’s the only protection it can find as the wolf approaches him.

The shepherd knows what he has to do. He raises his rod above his head, shouts, and runs full blast down the hill. As he does, he rushes through many sharp bramble bushes. He knows he will have thorns in his ankles, knees and thighs, but he cannot think about that right now. He has to save the sheep.

In a matter of only moments, he finds himself face to face with a large wolf. The wolf has no intentions of backing away. But neither does the shepherd. A fight ensues and finally, the wolf realizes that the shepherd cares about the sheep more than he does, and runs away.

The missing sheep is saved. Soon it finds itself back among the flock. Out of the bramble, it now rests with the rest of the flock in green pastures and beside still waters. Yes, it is good to be one of the Good Shepherd’s sheep. But again, note: it wasn’t easy for the shepherd.

Today, rest in the serenity of knowing Jesus is your shepherd. Take a nap in the green grass, and if hot, jump into that creek to cool off. But never these two facts: our rest cost the shepherd a great deal. And secondly, know that when we wander off, Jesus will search until we are found. He just loves you and me that much!

~ God bless, Dan

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