One of the most beautiful images of God is that of the good shepherd. I grew up with sheep and had the privilege to, like David, get leadership training as a shepherd on the biblical hills. Here are some points about the shepherd and the sheep that I would like to share with you:
1. King David is one of the Bible’s most fascinating and colourful personalities. Multi-talented, artistic and a visionary. Psalm 23, about the good shepherd, has comforted people for 3000 years. “The Lord is my shepherd.” That was David’s identity and his point of reference. The shepherd searches for the sheep that have gone astray and he lets them rest in green pastures. What a gospel in such an adrenaline-fuelled world. The shepherd’s love renews the soul and brings it back to life.
2. Sheep can butt or hurt their heads on sharp rocks. Insects lay eggs in the wounds. The shepherd then rubs healing ointment on the sheep’s head. Not even in the shadow of the valley of death need we fear. The shepherd’s goodness stays with us, until our last breath.
3. There are different types of shepherd staffs. The most common type is the one in our piece of jewelry called “The Shepherd’s Cross”; the classic crosier, which makes the sheep take the right path. Sheep do not have an in-built compass and they easily get lost. The shepherd searches until he finds the lost sheep. The shepherd walks just in front of the herd and sets a boundary for the sheep that are too eager, whilst at the same time protecting the sheep from wild animals.
4. Sheep will not lie down if they don’t feel safe; when they are worried about a lack of food, insects, unclean water, or wild animals. They recognise the shepherd’s voice among other voices and the shepherd knows each individual sheep. The shepherd’s staff is a symbol of security and fatherly care.
Son of a shepherd, shepherd of people and son of the Good Shepherd.