By Rosie Moore
During my 46 years living in Pennsylvania, I once lived in a house across the road from a huge Amish farm. One of my favorite pastimes was gazing out my front living room window and watching the Amish sheep graze on the pastures surrounding that farm. They came really close to the road to make sure they got the dewy grass that helped to fill their appetites.
A few weeks ago I wrote a column about the 23rd Psalm. One of my readers sent me a book called “The Shepherd Trilogy” by Phillip Keller. It is divided into three parts: “A Shepherd Looks At The 23rd Psalm, A Shepherd Looks At The Good Shepherd, and A Shepherd Looks At The Lamb of God.” There is an old adage that says, “You’re never too old to learn” which certainly is true of me, because, when reading this book, I learned a lot about sheep. I learned that it is a time-consuming job that must be done with thoughtfulness, care, and a lot of hard work.
Also, surprisingly, there are good shepherds and bad shepherds. Only the diligent care of a good shepherd will produce a herd of happy, well-fed sheep. And, another thing, there are still a lot of shepherds in the world today, especially in Australia, Palestine, Spain, Greece, North Africa, New Zealand, and parts of the western United States.
Here are some thoughts from this beautiful book: “No other class of livestock requires more careful handling, more detailed direction, than do sheep. The flock is moved along gently, they are not hurried. The shepherd wants to be sure that there will not only be water but also the best grazing available for his sheep.”
There is a parallel between the life of a sheep and our lives in this world. Do we want green pastures, cool waters, and loving tenderness from our Good Shepherd, who can also be righteous, stern as steel and terribly tough on phony people? You would think that everyone would want to be under the Good Shepherd’s care, but there are many, many who want to live their own fickle fantasies.
Another thing I learned was that sheep can be “cast” or “cast down.”
“This is an old English shepherd’s term for a sheep that has turned over on its back and cannot get up again by itself. A cast sheep is a very pathetic sight. Lying on its back, its feet in the air, it flays away frantically struggling to stand up, without success. Sometimes it will bleat a little for help, but generally it lies there lashing about in frightened frustration. Again and again I would spend hours searching for a single sheep that is missing. Then more often than not I would see it in the distance, down on its back, lying helpless.”
After some time, the shepherd is able to straddle the sheep and lift it on its legs. Another parallel here. How often have we been flat on our backs, unable to cope with life’s problems and our Good Shepherd gently lifts us up by prayer, friends, and His Holy Word?
I am always pleasantly surprised when my readers comment on my articles. Especially am I pleased when they send me helpful material to learn from. Many thanks to the reader who sent me this informative book.
What a blessing!
Thought for the day: Never fear shadows, they simply mean there’s a light shining nearby. Ruth E. Renkel– poet and writer
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