“Tend the flock of God in your midst, overseeing not by constraint but willingly, as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly. Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory” - 1 Peter 5:2-4
I recently directed a retreat with the theme “Lost Sheep” and while that message is powerful and you can spend a lot of time reflecting on how you’ve lost your way, and have been found by the Good Shepherd, but lately, I’ve been seeing it with a new twist.
Yes, we are all lost. Everyone’s just trying to do the best they can in this world, and we all can get tied up, and just plain lost many times.
We lose focus, we stray off the path, we fall on our back and can’t get up (apparently that’s a fact about sheep, I just learned).
But one thing that has struck me recently is 1) that we are all in this herd together and 2) how much influence one little sheep can have on another.
Like sheep, we have natural tendencies to follow. We may not be as obedient as sheep, but we usually act like or follow the path of the fellow sheep we are around. And sometimes we clumsily bump into other sheep as we’re trying to find our way (sometimes physically, although not what I’m referring to).
The point is, folks, we’re always wandering. And the people around us, and even the strangers we come into contact with, all shape us.
You never realize how much your life affects those around you, how many people look up to you, or how many lives you touch on the daily.
Some sheep might even be following you, and you don’t even know it. Some sheep might have gone astray with you, some sheep might have been found because of you.
We’re all slowly wandering, trying to find our purpose, trying do our best, and one sheep’s smile might turn your day around. Or maybe your act of kindness will inspire another to do something good today. Or, realistically, maybe your poor choice justifies someone else’s poor choice.
It has just really struck me lately how you live your life wandering, and don’t truly realize how many people see you, or are influenced by you. It definitely can be scary, but it’s a realization that calls for a reality check, and perhaps some straightening up, at times.
Sheep are a great analogy, because they travel in herds, they are obedient, they are meek, they are wandering. But the beautiful thing is that we are so much more complex, and have so much more responsibility.
We can think, speak, and act with other “sheep” on such a deeper level, and we can make so much more of a difference in this big, green world. And we are loved SO much more by our Shepherd than any sheep ever was (sorry if any sheep are reading this).
One of my more recent favorite short prayers, actually comes from a wall decoration in my soon-to-be sister’s house, but it says, “Bind my wandering heart to Thee”. Not so that only I may be on the right path, but that all the lives I am influencing, all the people I come into contact with, may also find our Good Shepherd.
Today, ladies, I challenge us to reflect on all the sheep around us and how much of a difference we can make by leading the way, or walking in the right direction. We ask God to bind our hearts to His so that we can know, love, and serve Him and those around us in the best way that we can.
Thank you all for reading & may you have a “baaa”—lessed day! (I had to, I’m sorry)
*Disclaimer: I am aware the photo is of cows, please forgive me. I do not have a photograph of sheep.