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Monday, April 23, 2007

Every so often I will be in the room when Lesley, my wife and our church’s Children’s Minister, is leading the children in the song “I Just Wanna’ Be a Sheep.” It is impossible for me to communicate to you the sheer cuteness of the hand motions that accompany this short rhyme, but every time I hear that song something happy wells up inside me and I cannot help but grin and the rampant sillyness.
Our sheep-ness is central to many passages in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. We are the sheep of the Lord’s field in Psalm 100, and we are caused to lie down in green fields in Psalm 23. In John 10 we are referred to as Jesus’ sheep, insomuch as we hear his voice and follow him.
I find it amazing that in our society no one has challenged this metaphor. Surely someone has noticed that being called a sheep is not the highest compliment that can be paid someone! Sheep are some of the dumbest creatures on this earth, perhaps second only to chickens. And yet we are repeatedly referred to as a flock of mindless sheep going astray, being attacked by wolves, and lying down in random places all through the Scriptures! Is no one alarmed?
I would hope not – we are the sheep of a very special pasture. The believers in Jesus Christ, the sheep of his field, are part of a flock that will never be snatched from the Shepherd’s care. They are the followers of the voice of the Shepherd who will indeed lead them to still waters and green grass.
Perhaps sheep are rather dim-witted. I would rather be dim-witted and follow the Lord of Heaven than have all wisdom and knowledge and follow the road to my own demise.
Let us then be sheep. Let us first understand that we are not as smart as the Shepherd, and that he has our safety and prosperity in mind. Let us also acknowledge that we must follow our Shepherd wherever he will go. We cannot do this alone; sheep need a shepherd as much as they need a flock.

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