Like it or not sheep smell and the Great Shepherd knows it but HE still wants to be with us. I don’t know about you but smell is one of my most enhanced senses. I love the smell of a great dinner, of carnations, of freshly mowed grass, of good perfume (no musk, I’m allergic), fresh coffee, cinnamon rolls, Christmas cookies, Ray’s cologne….. I do not like farm animal smells, skunks, cigars, waste, spoilage, nursing homes, death (yes, it does have a smell).
God insists that I get over this and often puts me in situations where I have to forget the smell for the sake of relationship. In John 21:15-17 we are told to feed My lambs, tend My sheep, then feed My sheep.
First we are to feed the lambs. These are baby sheep. Now why did I need to say that? Because they can’t feed themselves. Unless the mother is attentive to the needs of her young they will not thrive or survive. That is what we need to keep in mind when a person comes to believing in the LORD. Without the help of the believers around them new ‘babes’ will not grow. Feeding the lambs means taking the new believer under our wings and teaching them the Word and what it means to their lives.
Next, we are to tend the sheep. At this point the sheep are adults and need serious care. Sheep are prone to wander (Luke 15), as are we. If there are no shepherds to tend we will wander into disaster areas. Decision making is tough and without adequate guidance poor choices will be made. There have been many tenders in my life including friends, family, pastors, teachers…without them I would have taken the Word and made it what I wanted it to be. These very special people have taken their hooked staff and pulled me back from the edge of the cliff. They have directed my ‘stubborn (who me?) sheep’ mentality toward right choices.
Then we are to feed the sheep. Feeding adult sheep is different from feeding lambs. No longer needing their mother’s milk they need a nutritious, healthy diet that makes them strong enough to continue the process of regeneration. What? If the sheep are to survive and continue to thrive into the future they need to have a steady diet of food, grains, and water with rest and care as they need it. This is the same for us. We need to have a constant source of love and guidance to keep us on the right path. We get this through, prayer, study, worship and other Christians.
The Gentle Shepherd will help us find our way…we need only ask.
Gentle Shepherd, come and feed us. Give us strength and courage to go to those who can guide and help us through this journey. Lead us on the right paths. Let our lives be about honoring You in all we say and do. I lift this prayer in the precious name of Jesus, my Lord and Savior. Make it so.