Sept. 9, 2013
Jesus said, “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.
Raising sheep has been in my family for a long time. My sisters and I raised sheep through 4-H. Later, my Dad kept some sheep. My nephew Kevin is the latest Deaton to have sheep.
For years, I have talked about having a couple calves or sheep. This summer, Rick relented. Possibly he wants me to enjoy something for myself as I help care for his folks. He decided a couple sheep were easier than a couple calves or something else.
We made arrangements with Kevin to borrow a couple sheep and try it. There is a fenced in pasture close to Rick’s son, Darran’s house. We asked if we could section off a small part for the sheep. Darran was agreeable. Since I was going to be near Augusta one day, we decided I should bring the sheep back. Rick had only a day to make fence. Six-year-old Waylan came out and helped Grandpa build fence. Darran even helped out. Waylan was so anxious for the sheep to arrive. He talked non-stop about the lambs.
Flower and Bambi have been a hit. They are very tame. The grandkids can easily pet and catch them. When I do something with the sheep, Ellie and Waylan are willing helpers. Rick built a little three-sided shed. After we put it in the pasture, I lead them into it. The next day, they comfortably laid in the shed. They knew it was theirs.
Flower and Bambi are from the same flock. But I’m not sure they were “best” friends before arriving at our farm. They quickly became best friends. When I walk or bike by, the lambs start bellering as soon as I am in sight. They come running down to the fence. They love attention.
Soon, Flower will need to be bred so she can have a lamb. We decided to keep lambs at our farm a few more months. This past weekend, Kevin showed sheep. On the way home, we sent Flower home. In exchange, Bambi’s twin sister came back with us. As soon as the lambs into different trailers, Flower and Bambi were baaing back and forth. They missed each other. While Frost is Bambi’s twin sister, maybe she forgot this and wanted her latest best friend, Flower.
While Kevin and his mom spend a lot of time with the sheep, it took a minute for Flower to remember them. Of late, Darran, the kids and I have been her shepherd. We have fed her, watered her and given her attention. When Kevin tried to sooth her, she didn’t buy it.
Today, Ellie, Dylan and I went out to see how Frost is adjusting to her new digs. Bambi and Frost were in the shed. Frost let the kids pet her and feel her soft wool. We talked to her and she warmed up quickly. The lambs followed us down to the gate. Bambi knows who might feed her and Frost tagged along. They know we are their shepherds for the next several months, something we enjoy.
Jesus told us that he is our good shepherd. When we are his sheep, he knows everything about us: what we like or don’t like; what makes us happy and sad; how our voice sounds and how we want to be loved. There’s one difference with him as our shepherd. He was willing to sacrifice his life for our benefit. He just didn’t act as our shepherd. He lived as our shepherd.
Would I give up my life for Flower or Bambi or Frost? Hard question. It wasn’t a hard question for Jesus. He just did it. What a shepherd.
Lord God – How easy it is to blame you when we encounter a pressured-filled situation. We want to change You rather than change ourselves. Help us remember that you walk with us through those faith preserving times of our lives. Encourage us to discover faith that perseveres. Amen.
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