We are celebrating the 50 days of Easter when Jesus is often portrayed rescuing a wayward lamb. It is comforting to know that when I am lost, Jesus comes looking for me, even when I am the only who has strayed (Luke 15:3-7).
We read in John 10:11-13 that the sheep know their shepherd’s voice and will never follow a stranger. Over the past few years, I’ve been leaning closer in so that I won’t be confused by competing voices and wordly dangers, “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.”
I’m reading these Scripture verses with a new focus this year. Rather than consider myself as one of the fortunate sheep, I’m searching differently and asking, “How can I be more like Christ?”
We learn that Christ was moved with compassion when he saw the crowds being harassed and helpless like sheep (Matthew 9:36). Instead of competing daily with other sheep for recognition, prestige or position, we are commanded in 1 Peter 5:2-4 to move away from thinking of ourselves as the helpless sheep and moving on to thinking of ourselves as the shepherd:
“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”
This year, Easter has become a time for me of self-reflection asking, “Who is my flock?” I think first of family and friends but Christ has compassion for everyone he encounters. His grace and mercy aren’t limited to those people that he likes, Christ provides protection and love for everyone.
I want to be like the shepherd, not the hired hand.
Blessings, my friend,