Sunday, July 16, 2017

we are shepherd and sheep

Our friend with the crazy name, Aphrahat, talks to us today in A Year with the Church Fathers about shepherds. He points out how many people in the Bible were actual shepherds before they were called by God to take care of His people.

And of course, we have the 23rd Psalm in which we call the Lord our shepherd. And Jesus uses the metaphor multiple times during His ministry to teach us about how to care for people. When He reinstituted Peter, for instance, He told him three times to "feed My sheep". This, apparently, is how we demonstrate our love for Him.

But when we step back and think about it, we are both sheep and shepherd during our lifetime, aren't we? When we're children, obviously we are the sheep that our parents take care of. And when we grow up, we are the sheep that the pastor (which means "shepherd" in Latin) of our church takes care of. But in turn, we're also shepherds... we take care of those entrusted to OUR care. Whether it's our actual biological children, or those who need help that He calls on us to take care of, we are placed into the role of shepherd throughout our lives.

It's important for us to be good sheep, and to be good shepherds. If we are bad sheep we might be tempted to wander away, which puts the other sheep in danger. If we are bad shepherds, we neglect our sheep and they get hurt. So let's strive to simultaneously be good sheep and good shepherds.

To whom can you be a good shepherd today?

God, thanks for giving us a great metaphor from which we can learn about our lives. Help us to be good sheep and good shepherds.