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“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.” Psalms‬ ‭23:1‬

We tend to focus on the love and caring of the Good Shepherd, and why not? Jesus refers to himself as a good shepherd and contrasts that with the way an evil shepherd is. David was one of a long line of shepherds in the Old Testament. God seems to have a soft spot in his heart for shepherds.

Many of us have ingrained in our minds the Sunday School pictures of the good shepherd carrying a lamb on his shoulders or rescuing a lamb from a life-threatening situation, and we feel good knowing we are loved, cared for and protected by our shepherd.

But the elephant in the corner, you know it, the huge issue no one really wants to think about is that one does not need a shepherd unless one is a sheep! Sheep are dependent on a shepherd because, as one farmer told me, “they are just so dumb”! They can’t care for themselves. Completely dependent. Completely ignorant. Dumb.

We don’t want to be sheep, but unless we become sheep-like we won’t be able to take full advantage of a loving, caring, powerful, wise shepherd.

Be a sheep.


“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32

Have you ever found yourself in the position of buying a ‘gift’ for someone under obligation? It’s not that you don’t like the person, or that you have no desire to be kind, it’s just that the gift you are looking for is out of ‘expectation’ rather than passion. Maybe it’s not a gift. Maybe it’s some other act of kindness. Rather than random acts of kindness we often perform random acts of obligation.

There is no joy in obligatory giving. It can leave us feeling violated, taken advantage of or used. We feel controlled and manipulated by the person we are buying the gift for and it’s easy to become bitter, angry and alienated.

Sometimes people see God as an obligatory giver.  We see him as a controlling, manipulative being who is really intent on making our lives miserable and that we live in constant fear of his wrath. We see him as a being that is constantly looking for our sacrifice to prove our allegiance to him. It’s sad to say, but sometimes, organized religion has either intentionally or unintentionally propagated that idea by placing rules and regulations on how we act or making demands on our time and money.

In the middle of Jesus’ teaching on worry he gives us a picture of his Father that we should never forget. Jesus likens the Father’s love and care of us to his watch care over nature. The birds don’t worry about their next meal; the flowers burst forth to show their beauty without worrying about how the wind blows.

Then He says “Don’t be afraid little flock”. Pay attention to that phrase because it is a term of affection, endearment and protection. As the good shepherd Jesus knew that sheep would wander aimlessly into danger without guidance and leadership. While some want to paint God as a being who is, at best, hesitant to bestow his blessings and is angry or begrudging in showing kindness, Jesus says the opposite is true. He tells us God’s actions towards us aren’t based on his power, which he certainly has a right to do, but on his love for us.

The next phrase in this verse is important because it tells us of the very character of God. Don’t be afraid little flock because “your father is pleased’ to give you the kingdom. Did you catch that? The Father, the Creator God of the universe is pleased to give you the kingdom. God doesn’t hold back; He doesn’t give grudgingly. He is pleased, honored and looking forward to bestowing on us his good pleasure.

The problem is, sometimes we seek only the physical blessings of life. We seek the three R’s of riches, relationships and religion. We tell ourselves we are ‘blessed if we have a healthy bank account and retirement plan. We are blessed if we have a strong family relationship. We are blessed if we attend the right church.

While all these things can point to God’s blessings, God’s true blessings come through a healed heart, a contented soul and a hope built on the forgiveness offered through Jesus Christ. We have a God who takes great pleasure in giving us all the blessings of his kingdom; blessings of forgiveness, hope and peace of heart.

PRAYER: Father God, as I think of that phrase “it is your pleasure to give me your blessings’, I’m in awe. I’m so undeserving of your grace. I fail you daily. I hurt others and ultimately myself by my actions. I forget what is truly important in life. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for taking great pleasure in blessing me with your kingdom through Jesus Christ. Amen.


The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need. Psalm 23:1 (NCV)

First of all, we need to get rid of the romanticism behind being a shepherd. We’ve seen the pictures. Soft little lambs playing in an open meadow while adult sheep lay enjoying the sun. In the background a shepherd sits against a rock looking out over a peaceful valley. Blue skies. Green grass. Gorgeous scenery. Life is good.

Without a doubt there were days like that but have you ever really thought of what life as a shepherd was like? Occasionally (as in the night Jesus was born) you may be lucky enough to spend some time with other shepherds and other flocks. But much of their time is spent alone.

Shepherds didn’t go home at night. Their home was with the sheep. Smelly, stubborn, stupid boring sheep 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They endured hot days and cold nights. They endured storms and winds and were under constant threat of enemy attack, especially in the dark. And the picture of peaceful sheep following a shepherd? Forget that too. Sheep are stubborn. They don’t know where to eat. They won’t go find good grass on their own. They don’t know enough to stay out of rushing water. If they tried to cross a stream that was too deep their wool would turn them into an effective anchor! They certainly aren’t fighters. Bears, lions and other predators see sheep as fair and easy game and an easy, instant meal.

Sheep rebel constantly, lack motivation, vision, passion, desire and wisdom. Even so, Jesus gives us a glimpse of what a shepherd was like. David, of course, was a shepherd. Shepherds were the first ones told of the birth of the Christ-child. 

Jesus calls himself the good shepherd. Here’s what he says about a good shepherd. A good shepherd knows your name. He may have hundreds of sheep in the flock, but he knows you. personally. That doesn’t mean he knows your name alone. He knows your likes and dislikes. He knows the intricate things about your personality. To me all sheep look the same. To Jesus every sheep is unique and exciting. That’s you. Unique. Exciting. 

The good shepherd protects. He lies down at the gate so no predators can get through. The only way to get to you is if they get through the shepherd first. Not much chance of anyone getting past Jesus. He’s passionate about protecting you.

Good shepherds know what is best for you. He prepares the day’s journey. He’s walked the path many times. He knows the best and safest route to take. We aren’t cookie-cutter sheep. Jesus knows that. Since we aren’t cookie-cutter sheep we don’t have one-size-fits-all needs. He won’t try to force you into some mold for life; rather he molds life events around you to make you the best you can be.

Jesus calls us sheep. We are described as sheep without a shepherd wandering aimlessly, getting into danger, struggling with survival, defenseless against the enemies in our life. So why would Jesus spend so much time with you, a silly sheep? Jesus knows that will all the faults you have, you are worth the fight. He’ll fight to the death to protect you. He’s willing to endure all of your negative qualities, your weaknesses and your rebelliousness. Why? Jesus loves you and you are worth the risk!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus. Thank you for a love that goes so deep. Thank you for understanding my weakness. Thank you for loving me enough to fight for me, cry with me and walk with me through the night. Most of all, thank you for forgiving my sin. Amen.

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