Our Choice in a Shepherd
Like it or not humans are similar to sheep in many ways. Both of us are social beings. Our bodies and minds become stressed and suffer when isolated from others for long periods of time. We can be quick to panic and flee. Whether it be a king or a president, we both like the idea of following a leader. Humans can get swept up by powerful emotions and ideas that we can sometimes become blind followers too. So, is being a sheep such a bad thing? No, it depends on who your leader is and your attitude toward them. Then who should our leader be?
An effective leader is meant to direct you toward progress and success. A good shepherd protects his or her sheep and leads them to lush pastures and fresh water. At work, an exceptional boss trains you and manages your workload to complete projects that allow you and the company to thrive. Unfortunately, humans are fallible (Romans 3:23). A sleeping shepherd will lose sheep to predators. God tells us in Psalm 121 that He will not fall asleep and will always protect and help those under His care. Stressed bosses can ruin your environment and ruin your work-life balance. John 14:27 (NIV) reads, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
God is the one for the job of being our shepherd. He is the creator of all things and more powerful than us in every way. Isaiah 40:28 reads, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.” Unfortunately, humans also cannot be everywhere at once. The president does not come to your house to get to know your struggles in life. Your boss cannot see how much effort you put in at home after he asks so much from you all day. God knows your struggles, however, and He cares. 1 Peter 5:6-10 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you…And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
Another beautiful thing about God is that He actually desires the job of being your leader and shepherd. So much so that He sent His son to die in order that you could be close to Him. Jesus tells us in John 10:11-14, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.”
A key difference between us and sheep is that sheep don’t have a choice in who their shepherds will be. For better or worse, whoever bought them is their shepherd. God redeemed us at the cost of His son, but He loves us so much that He gives us the choice to become a member of His flock. James 4:4-7 tells us, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us’? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”