“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.” – John 10:14-16
I’ll never forget the night we drove two hours down a rural central Texas road to pick up our new furry friend. He’s a scrawny, long-haired, Shetland Sheepdog named Duke. We were instantly smitten; he was, and still is, like a child to us.
We realized in the years proceeding his arrival to our family that Duke developed a few peculiar traits. He would constantly herd anything with legs. Ducks, other dogs, squirrels, and especially humans.
But it wasn’t just Duke. All sheepdogs, we learned, have a natural instinct to herd. It comes from generations of breeding to prepare the dogs for life on a farm. You see, sheepdogs have a natural instinct built inside of them to keep the shepherd’s sheep together so that none of them wander away from the pack.
Duke reminded us of this unique genetic trait every time he was around a group of people. He would run around really fast in circles so that no one could get away from the group.
And if someone were to wander off, he’d immediately sound the alarms with a squirrely, high-pitched, bark. He wanted his shepherd to know that one of the sheep had wandered off.
As it turns out, that’s exactly how God wants to treat you. He’s looking, constantly looking, for all those sheep who’ve gone wayward.
Maybe you feel like you’re the black sheep; you’ve wandered off. Take comfort in knowing that God has launched a full search and rescue mission for you, through Jesus.
He’s called in all the sheepdogs. He’s looking and waiting for you, ready to welcome you back into the sheepfold with open arms. And if you’re already in the sheepfold, if you already personally KNOW the shepherd (Jesus), then God also wants you to be His sheepdog.
The truth is, we're not just sheep … we're also sheepdogs. God's called us to find the lost sheep and alert the shepherd.
When we invite God into our lives to be our shepherd, we’re inviting Him to be the shepherd of all our needs.
If we try to do it on our own without God, we become a black sheep. And the black sheep, if you’ve heard the metaphor before, is the kind of sheep that doesn’t really want a shepherd to guide their lives. They’d be happy to do everything on their own.
Don’t be the black sheep. Instead, follow the shepherd.