“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” — John 10:14
Some time ago, while I was studying about Psalm 23, I read about someone who wanted to become a sheep farmer. He wanted to make sure he had all the right equipment, including a shepherd’s staff: a long pole with a J-hook at the end. But at the farm-supply store he found that shepherds today use dogs instead of a staff.
The differences between the two are quite obvious. It can be mesmerizing to watch sheep dogs round up a flock of sheep and force them to comply. The dogs can cover a lot of distance quickly, doing the work with a lot less people power. With an ankle nip here and a sharp bark there, the dogs corral sheep into particular fields where the shepherd wants them to go. Without these helpful dogs, shepherds used to have to round up their sheep on their own, or with lots of helpers—all of whom used a staff to direct the sheep.
With the Lord as our good shepherd, we are well cared for. The Lord Jesus is intensely and intimately involved with us as his sheep. He calls us by name, and we know his voice. He leads us to green pastures, clean water, and safe havens. Ultimately, he lays down his life for his sheep so that, even when we enter the darkest valleys of life, where we don’t want to go, his directing nudge comforts us—and we know he will bring us safely through. As he faithfully calls us, may it be our heartfelt desire to follow the good shepherd!