This week's memory verse:
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Colossians 3:12
To be honest with you, my cold came back this morning, and I didn't really feel doing my quiet time today...a few more minutes of sleep sounded awfully inviting! But...something made me pick up that Bible study book...and I was touched again by today's lesson.
My dad has SO been on my mind this week. And today made that even more so. Today's lesson was all about sheep. Jesus calls himself a good shepherd who takes care of his sheep. I have always related to this analogy. If you know me at all, you know that I grew up around a farm, and one of the main things we raised was sheep. My dad (and my grandparents before him) considered himself a good shepherd who took good care of his sheep. And...sheep NEED a shepherd! I love sheep myself...the babies are so sweet and cute...it was always fun to watch them jump stiff-legged in the field or around the barn while their mothers were eating. They were pretty loyal animals, and there were always the ones that became more like pets and loved to be petted and made over. But...they are also pretty stupid animals! They follow each other and sometimes wander off into dangerous situations. They can be laying down when it starts to rain, not get up and their wool would be so soaked and heavy with water they couldn't get up and all they could do was bawl out for help. When they are giving birth, many times they have trouble doing it on their own and they need a gentle (or sometimes not so gentle) human hand to pull their babies into life. Sheep NEED a loving human care taker! Oh, I'm sure there are wild sheep living in the mountains somewhere who do fine on their own...but I bet they don't have a long lifespan!
WE are like sheep! We follow others into dangerous situations...we allow ourselves to lay in sin like rain until we are so heavy with it we can't get up. We NEED a good shepherd to take care of us!
Read the following passage for yourself:
Jesus repeats that he will lay down his life for his sheep...and he did! He said he willing did this out of his own free will. He will bring us back in when we get lost, and he will pick us up when we are down. But, he did say that his sheep recognize his voice...we have to come when he calls.
Jesus also said there are sheep that are scattered outside his pen...they know his voice too, but they are lost outside. Jesus said he would gather them up and put us altogether in one herd. I get concerned for those who live on the outside...who are wandering around lost. I think we should be concerned, but Jesus' words should give us comfort...they will recognize his voice and he will bring them in. That's HIS job...he is the good shepherd!
I have been lost...I have been heavy with my mistakes...but I have learned to listen for that recognized voice and run home to him. I let him pick me up, dry me off and take those mistakes from me so I am light enough to jump stiff-legged with joy again!
My dad was a good shepherd, and now my uncle is as well. I can look to how well they take care if their sheep as a reminder of how well Jesus takes care of us. Are you lost? Are you heavy with your mistakes? Call out to your shepherd...he will hear you and come take care of you!