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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.

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About the author:

Ruth Rowe <ruthjohn.rowe@gmail.com>
Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you for sharing.


    Great story and application, Ruth.


    Great analogy, Ruth. Thanks and God bless!


    Thank you, Ruth, it amazes me how much like sheep we are! I am grateful we have a GOOD shepherd. Praise God!


    Wonderful prayer Ruth, and story! Thank you for sharing your story; it’s as if our prayers are ‘informed’ by your description of the needs of the sheep. God bless.


    Ruth – another excellent devotion. I so appreciate the help you give me often to understand a concern. Guess you are my shepherd and I am so fortunate to have that.


    Thank you so much for those insights, I wasn’t aware of all the intricacies involved with sheep farming, quite an undertaking.
    Blessings.


    Dear Ruth: Wonderful story and message, I’ve passed it on to a former sheep farmer near Ottawa. He’ll appreciate it as I did.
    (Ont.)


    Dear Ruth,
    Thank you for another one of your Devotionals that are both delightful and so inspiring!
    Blessings and Joy.


    I, too am a retiring shepherd with most of our flock sold and only a few “pets” left. We are in our 80’s. But so thankful for all that we have been blessed with. Sheep are like toddlers or teenagers. Full of fun but requiring patience and so easy to love.


    Thank you, Ruth, for sharing this informative and interesting devotional with us. Yes, we really do have a lot in common with sheep – a fact that Jesus used to teach us how to be like sheep who intimately know their Shepherd and faithfully follow Him. Blessings.


    Ruth,
    I learned more about sheep and shepherds today and The 23rd psalm will have new meaning to me.
    Thank you and God Bless you.
    (Ontario, Canada)


    Hi Ruth: Thank you for today’s devotional. It was interesting to learn about lambing season and your protection of the new lambs. The Good Shepherd indeed knows all of His Sheep by name, and we are so blessed. A good reminder when the days get rough. Blessings to you.


    Hello Ruth,
    Thank you for this very meaningful devotional and sharing about your experience in caring for and raising flocks of sheep. Our loving Lord certainly oversees and cares for each of us as the devoted shepherd in our daily lives. Blessings for your writings.


    Good morning Ruth,
    It looks like it will be a lovely few days ahead and you have no sheep to tend (hopefully) so you can enjoy your shepherd taking care of you. You had a very busy and interesting life, and you are willing to share the lessons you have learned with us. We all benefit from each other’s stories as God knows when he asked us to reach out and share out own story. As I join with you in your prayer, God here us and help us to be strong and willing to share. Blessings.


    Greetings,
    We enjoyed your Devotional very much!


    Hi Ruth,
    Thank you for a lovely reflection. We don’t often hear from a North American shepherd!


    What a beautiful story to share. I am so glad you told it.
    For this “city girl” it brought the Biblical passages to life.
    Thank you.


    Thanks for all the very relevant details in your sheep story. How clearly it relates to us! Keep writing, Ruth.

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