One of the good things about where I work is that – although it is a large business and science park full of buildings – it only takes a few minutes walk before you are out in the countryside. I often go for lunchtime walks and over the last month or so some of the fields through which I walk have been full of sheep.
One lunchtime as I walked a few weeks ago, to my surprise, as well as the sheep I saw a lady standing in a nearby field watching over the sheep. I’m not sure if she was the farmer, a shepherd or some other person caring for the sheep. The sight of a shepherd is now a rarer occurrence than it once was.
I’m not an expert about sheep but they are not renowned for their intelligence and the sheep I’ve met haven’t seemed bothered to improve my opinion of them. Even in a safe field there is usually potential for them to get themselves stuck somewhere and no doubt these seemingly rather stupid animals need some oversight.
We however are different, with the ability to judge wisely, predict the future, anticipate problems, think things out, and generally make our own way safely in the world.
Only I don’t always feel this is true. Life can often be so complex, and dependent on people and circumstances which are so uncertain, that for all my education, time thinking things through, advice sought, and care taken, the right way forward seems impenetrable, the future unpredictable and I can all too readily land in a mess. I wish that I too could have a ‘shepherd’ to watch over me and help me through my scrapes.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep” (John 10:11 NLT)
I’m glad that I do.