The Biblical references to shepherds and sheep are multitude.
Before you think I’m gonna go all theological on you…I’m not. But, just let me say this: The Bible was the first book of which I purchased my very own copy, it was the first “grown-up” book I ever read cover to cover, and…it has had a profound impact on my life.
Nearly everyone has heard the 23rd Psalm. Many of us have longed for the green pastures and quiet streams. The flock mentality has been applied to humankind for many, many years. The parallels are uncanny. It wasn’t until we became shepherds that some of the repeated references to sheep and shepherds began to have deeper meaning from personal experience.
There are stories of young David the shepherd boy who killed a bear and a lion in an effort to protect his sheep. When you have to learn about predators, parasites and disease to protect your flock…this becomes personal.
To hear that the “shepherd will lay down his life for the sheep” sounds noble and shows dedication. When you’re walking to the barn for the fourth time in the middle of the night, in the pouring rain, snow or icy temperatures to check on lambing ewes…this becomes personal.
To read the passage where “he left the 90 and 9 and went out to look for the ONE lost lamb” again speaks of responsibility and commitment. When you know there are coyotes and other predators in the area, and the headcount comes up short…this becomes personal.
The sheep know “the shepherd’s voice” and I also know each of theirs. Even the little lambs respond to my voice, as well as their mothers. This is yet another reference proven by personal experience.
The literary references are myriad, and suffice it to say…I know I will never be “THE Good Shepherd”, and these are analogies to teach another type of lesson…but, they all serve to make me a BETTER shepherd.
…and maybe a better person.