Good morning. It is Tuesday, November 30, 2021. Jeanette Stark here.
A young seven-year-old boy and his classmates were told to memorize the 23rd psalm. When it was his turn to recite the Psalm, he stood in front of the class and said, “The lord is my Shepard and that is all I need to know.”
The story is told that many years ago, a large Atlanta church was televising the service where they had asked a retired 92 year minister preach from its pulpit. There was a warm welcome as he was introduced and, as the applause quieted down, the old man rose from his high back chair and walked slowly, with great effort to the podium.
Without a note or written paper of any kind, he placed both hands on the pulpit to steady himself and then quietly and slowly he began to speak. "When I was asked to come here today and talk to you, your preacher asked me to tell you what the greatest lesson was I ever learned in my 50 odd years of preaching.
I thought about it for a few days and boiled it down to just one thing that made the most difference in my life and sustained me through all my trials.
The one thing that I could always rely on when tears and heart break and pain and fear and sorrow paralyzed me.
The only thing that would comfort was this:
Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong, They are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me… The Bible tells me so."
When he finished, the church was so quiet you actually could hear his footsteps as he shuffled back to his chair.
Such a powerful message!! I often say, “It’s the simple things in life” and nothing could be truer today.
The Lord is my Shepherd, and He loves me. That is it! End of Story!
John 10:11-15 tells us “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep….I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.”
When I was a child, I thought people being referred to as sheep was sweet. As I got older and began to understand the behavior of sheep, I realized it was not such a sweet compliment.
Sheep are needy.
Sheep are entirely dependent on their shepherd. They need care and watching over…if the shepherd were to leave them alone, he would put them at risk and possibly great danger.
Sheep are defenseless.
Sheep have little to no ability to defend themselves. Sheep are even known to die from panic.
Frankly, sheep are stupid.
I shared a story some months back about a sheep farmer putting a rope across the barn doorway and letting his sheep out to pasture. The first sheep jumped the rope, followed by the second and third and so on. Soon he removed the rope, but the rest of the sheep kept jumping, because that is what the sheep in front of them had done.
I can remember my mom saying to me, when talking about following the bad examples of friends, “If your friend jumped off a cliff, would you jump off a cliff?” Well, since we are like sheep it makes sense. If one sheep jumps over a cliff, the others are likely to follow.
If those sheep had been following their shepherd, no harm would have come to them.
When I think of a shepherd leading his flock, I see him in the lead. He walks in front of the herd, the sheep follow. But not all shepherds lead from the front.
In his 1994 autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom”, Nelson Mandela wrote “A leader. . .is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”
So, whether Jesus leads you to green pastures and still waters, or He watches you as you take the lead and try to find your own path, know this, He is there. He sees everything. He knows everything. He is guarding and protecting you from the wolves that would devour you if given the chance.
We are thick headed; some might even say stupid. We think we know what is better for us, we choose our own path, we follow the sinner in front of us. We are lost without Him!
Isaiah 53:6 says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way;…”
But Jesus is our good Shepherd. He loves you! He wants you! His only purpose now is to get your attention.