“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
Most of us know well the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” It’s a tale that kids usually learn when they’re very young, especially from parents who are driving home the idea that it’s hard to believe someone who is known for sometimes telling lies.
But for those who don’t remember the story, here it is in a nutshell:
A young shepherd is tasked with watching a large flock of sheep for a town. He gets bored and decides to have some fun by yelling to the people in town that a wolf is attacking the sheep. Two times he does this, and both times the townspeople run to fight off the wolf … only to find that the shepherd boy is laughing at his bad joke.
The third time, however, the threat is real. The wolf really is attacking, and the shepherd yells the news to the townsfolk. Now, however, they don’t believe him, and the wolf tears many of the sheep to bits, and scatters the rest of the flock. He learns the lesson that, “no one believes a liar, even when he’s telling the truth.”
For today, however, I’d like to add wrinkle to the story. Think about this – the shepherd was bored. Why? A shepherd’s job is never done, especially because sheep are constantly doing their own thing. Sheep wander. They get distracted. They get lost. And they need someone who’s going to care for them and about them. A good shepherd never quits looking out for his sheep. The relationship between sheep and shepherd is so tight that the sheep can tell his voice from any other voice. When their shepherd calls, they know it’s safe to go in his direction.
But the boy who cried wolf was bored, possibly because they weren’t his sheep. He was a hired hand, just like today’s scripture talks about. So instead of taking things seriously, he played games, and when the wolf really came, he ran off instead of fighting for the sheep.
Jesus says that we’re His sheep, and the description is pretty accurate. We wander. We get distracted. We get lost. And we need someone who will care for us and about us. Our Good Shepherd – Jesus – never quits looking out for His sheep. He constantly is calling out to us, and when we listen for His voice, He will lead us in the right direction.
This week, thank the Lord for being your Good Shepherd. Pray that He will keep calling to you, and that you’ll be able to clearly hear His voice, and that you’ll easily know where He’s leading you.
Reflection copyright © 2016 Doug DeBolt.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.