Sheep: Part 1

For a long time, I’ve thought that people, in general, are sheep. I was sort of anti-pop culture at the time, and it was an easy jab to call people sheep. They follow whatever MTV or the media as a whole deems good and “cool”. I may have been righter than I thought.

These thoughts came up again as I was listening to The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (the audiobook). The protagonist is a shepherd and is pondering why his sheep follow him. He decides that they follow him because he provides for their primary concerns of food and water.

Most of us walk through our lives, preoccupied with our primary concerns, and who or what will take care of those. Maybe a new job, more money, or even a new president. Our focus is set on the immediate and rarely do we consider the pasture or how we got there. We have no concern for the bigger picture. We are sheep.

If we are sheep, then we all follow a shepherd. None of us really know what’s going on, so we all follow those that give us answers. Sometimes it’s a religious leader, that new presidential candidate, a philosopher or even just popular culture. We follow.

Jesus seems to know that all people are sheep. In John 10, he refers to his audience (the Jews) as sheep, then talks about sheep that are in “another pen” (Gentiles, perhaps), and he tells the religious leaders of the day that they do not follow him because they are not his sheep (but sheep nonetheless).

In that same chapter, Jesus calls himself a shepherd. Some of us choose to follow him because he gave up his life for all of us.
“The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
Jesus is the good shepherd because he loves all sheep enough to lay down his life for them. That love makes him worth following.

If we are all sheep, and we all follow a shepherd, our only real choice, or maybe just the most important one, is which shepherd? A real shepherd who deserves to be followed, or just another sheep?

What about you? What shepherd do you follow?

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~ by mitchbolton on September 13, 2008.

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