Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "I Love To Tell The Story"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 9:36 – When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (NIV)
When John and I were farming, we had a flock of a hundred sheep. The sheep taught us so many lessons, much like the ones found in Scripture.
March and April were the months when the new lambs were to be born, so I would spend hours at the barn during the day, and John would go out between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. In those early days, we were also milking ten cows by hand, so the day started not long after sunup. Our dog, Buster, stayed in the barn on cold nights. If Buster were not just inside the door to greet us when we went into the barn, we knew that one or more new lambs had been born since John had checked through the night. Buster watched over the sheep pen, and if there were new lambs, he would not leave his post until we caught the ewe and her lambs and took them over to the lambing pen building.
In this building, we had many, small, single pens where we kept the family for a week away from the flock. Baby lambs will follow other sheep and get separated from their mother in the first three days after birth. In the smaller pen, we could make sure that the lamb was getting enough to eat. Dairy ration was given to the ewe to help with milk production. Hooves and legs were checked for potential walking difficulties.
We had a lanolin-based paint that was used to put a number on mother and her young so that when all the sheep were together, we knew the family unit at the first sign of problems. John and I did not name all our sheep because there were too many. But our Saviour knows all His children by their name.
Sheep take a lot of management and care. Our flock had no protection from the predators around our area, such as bears, wolves, and foxes. As shepherds, we had to try to keep the flock safe, and we were thankful for the help of Buster, who was a good watchdog.
John 10:11 – I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (NIV)
Christ gave His life on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sin. Trust and faith in Him bring eternal life.
Walking with the Saviour every day brings to mind the truth of the words that David penned:
Psalm 23:1-3 – The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. (NIV)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus to be our Saviour. Thank You for the comfort that we get in the knowledge that He is the Good Shepherd Who knows each of our names. Encourage the hearts of Your children today, and then, help us to encourage each other. Amen.