Living in Wyoming for three years, I had the opportunity to work on a ranch. I also almost singlehandedly destroyed that ranch, but that is another story for another time.
The family, friends of mine, owned a lot of land and a lot of cattle. We’re talking miles upon miles. Sort of like the Ponderosa in the old television series. No Adam, or Hoss, or Little Joe, or Hop Sing on this ranch though. Just two hard-working sons and a father and mother who loved them very much.
They explained to me that sometimes, they would find cattle missing. Big area of land. Way out where no one was watching. Can’t be everywhere at once. I think in the olden days, they would call that ‘cattle rustling’.
I guess a shepherd would have helped, though you don’t normally find a shepherd working with cattle. Sheep, yes. Cows, no.
A shepherd lives a fairly solitary life. The shepherd’s dog might be his only companion. Well, a dog and the herd of sheep, of course.
Sheep are skittish creatures. They generally stay in a pack. Easy prey for wolves and coyotes, maybe an occasional rustler. Yet, sheep know the scent and voice of the shepherd. The shepherd protects and cares for the sheep, allowing no harm to come to them. No wolf. No coyote. No rustler.
Remember the Bible story, the parable of the Good Shepherd? One of my all-time favorites.
It spoke of how The Shepherd would watch over and protect the sheep. When one went missing, The Shepherd would leave the others behind and search until the missing sheep was found. The Shepherd would then bring the lamb back to the rest of the flock.
I always wondered about the wisdom, the strategy, of leaving ninety-nine sheep behind just to find one stray. What would happen to the ninety-nine if a wolf or coyote or rustler happened by? Instead of losing one sheep, The Shepherd might have lost many more. Doesn’t seem so wise to me. Can’t see the wisdom in it.
Got me thinking . . .
What would it be like if I . . . if you . . . were that one lost sheep? Lost. Scared. Alone. Lonely. Happens from time to time, doesn’t it? Sometimes more than we think. Sometimes more than we want. Sometimes for longer than we want.
Comforting to know that a shepherd would look for me . . . for you . . . should we ever find ourselves in that situation, that circumstance. We wouldn’t question the wisdom of leaving the ninety-nine if you or I were that one lost sheep, would we? No, I don’t think so. We’d be thankful. Relieved.
Maybe that’s The Gift Of The Shepherd.
To know that there will be someone . . . somewhere . . . who will look for us, search for us, until we’re found. Until we’re safe. And then bring us back home.
And . . .
Perhaps we can be The Gift Of The Shepherd to others. To watch over. To guard. To guide. And, I think this is really important, to seek out, to search for, when someone close to us . . . or perhaps not so close to us . . . is lost or scared or alone or lonely. Each of us can be The Gift to one another. For one another. That would be quite The Gift, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t that be something? At least, it would be something to think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!