Tuesday, October 28, 2008

God My Shepherd

I grew up with sheep. My Father always had a small flock  on the property near our house. Quite honestly, I did not like working with them. They required a lot of attention. They were rather frail, easily frightened, and needed protection from the elements. There were not like the cattle we owned who were more self-sufficient. They were highly dependent. 

This was especially true of the weakest sheep. Young lambs would wonder off and we lost many to preditors, even though we had a fence that enclosed the flock. We were always monitoring, protecting, tending, and healing these frail animals. 

From my experience with sheep, I find it a bit offensive that the Scriptures often compare us to them. Most of the time I like to think of myself as strong and self-sufficient. The independent, self-made mindset rebels against this association. And I assume that if I act rightly and perform according to expectations that I am worthy of God's attention and love. It is hard for me to imagine otherwise. And it is hard to imagine a God whose love is so radical that he would come after me when I am not lining up according to expectations. 

Then when I really think about it, I am more like the weak dependent sheep than I want to admit. Even when I think I am performing well, I really and missing the point. I am not wired to perform for love. That is not love. I am made simply to be loved and this is what the Shepherd does. 

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