When our three youngest sons were still at home, we lived on an acreage for some years. We had a regular Old McDonald’s Farm, but my husband and I especially miss the sheep and the lessons they taught us.
We were greenhorns at first as we tried to move them from behind by waving our arms and wagging our tongues. They would scatter, and we had bigger problems. Our lives became so much easier when we figured out that all we had to do was gently lead them.
It was amazing how the sheep took care of each other. Some were white-faced, some black, and some spotted, but they accepted their differences. They never bullied weak or lame ones. There were always one or two of them beside one blind sheep to tenderly nudge him to the right path.
I especially remember one extra-special experience I had with our small herd. They were out in the pasture and usually always came back to their lighted yard before dark. Concerned that they weren’t home yet, I walked to the fence. I could faintly see their huddled mass in the middle of the pasture. Apparently the darkness had crept in and caught them off guard, and they didn’t dare to try finding their way home.
“Here, sheep. Here, sheep,” I called. They recognized my voice and moved towards me as they baa-baa-ed their gratitude. As soon as I stopped calling, they stopped and listened again for my voice. When they spotted the opening that led to the lighted yard, they rejoiced and ran home.
The lesson I learned that day still sticks with me today as I ask myself, “Do I listen for my Great Shepherd’s voice, I mean really listen with open ears and open heart? Do I follow? Am I familiar enough with the Shepherd’s voice that I recognize when He is speaking to my heart – This is the way?”