Sheep: Part 2

In part one I posited that all of us are sheep, and we all follow a shepherd. The only question was which shepherd. Jesus called himself the good shepherd because he laid down his life for the sheep. That makes him worth following.

In The Alchemist, the protagonist ponders why his sheep follow him. He could take any new route to a pasture, and they would not notice. All they care about is food and water. They don’t see the big picture, nor do they care. He could slaughter them one by one, and they would not notice until most of the flock was gone. They trust him with their lives.

Sheep follow their shepherd at the expense of their instinct. The longer they are with their shepherd, the less and less they rely on themselves or their own judgement. They become incapable of making their own decisions and lose touch with their instinct as their trust in the shepherd increases.

If sheep follow the shepherd at the expense of instinct or judgement, is that how we should follow Christ? Proverbs 3:5 says that we should trust in God, and not rely on our “own understanding”. Should our trust in him be so great, that we no longer rely on our own instinct, judgement or nature? Is that what he wants from us?

Absolutely.

Jesus wants us to follow him like sheep. He wants us to trust him with our lives (our bigger pictures) and our primary concerns (food and water). He loves us and laid his life down for us. He sees all our pastures and knows which ones are the best. He may be taking us on new routes or to new pastures and we don’t see it. His plan and path for us is decided by his love for us. That’s why we follow him, and why we should follow him so intensely.

How do we know we’re following our shepherd? Again, in John 10, Jesus says that his sheep follow the shepherd because “they know his voice.” That is something that many of Jesus’ sheep forget, or avoid. They struggle with the idea of hearing his voice they will say they can’t hear it. The sheep just sit there, like they’re deaf, and wait for him to come kick them before they start moving.

I read that passage to say that if you are a follower of Jesus, you hear his voice. That it’s not possible to be a follower of Jesus if you don’t hear his voice. Think about it, how else would you know where he is going?

Finally, be sure not to fall of the other end of this. That of no responsibility. Jesus can take you to the pasture, but you still have to graze. There is an element of your health that depends on you.

How are you following the good shepherd?

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~ by mitchbolton on September 20, 2008.

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