Wednesday, June 1, 2005

The Life and Times of Sammy the Sheep

Hi, I’m Sammy the sheep, and this is my life story.

I am a follower, I tend to go along with the crowd. The great thing with being a sheep is that I know that I belong. I have many other friends who are also sheep. I am part of a family.

And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
I am a very useful creature, people can use my fleece to make wool and even make fetta cheese from my milk. Every part of me is useful.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Not only do I belong to my family I also belong to my master the shepherd. My shepherd looks after me and because of that I have everything I need. Whenever any of the other sheep are sick or injured he takes care of them, dressing their wounds with ointment or dipping them for fleas. He once told us a story of just such a person, who looked after a man who had fallen on hard times, even though he was a stranger;

“He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he
put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next
day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after
him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense
you may have.”
When I was young I once became lost, I ended up in this creepy valley of shadows. It was a scary place and very lonely on my own. I was very afraid. I thought of all my family who would be missing me. My one hope was that the shepherd would see that I was not with the group and come and rescue me. I remember a song that my shepherd used to sing;

“If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the
depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle
on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
right hand will hold me fast”.
I thought to myself “oh, that would be nice, but he has so many sheep to think about and I am so small, surely he wouldn’t notice that I am gone”.

Somewhere deep down I just knew he would come looking for me. He did. He left all the other sheep safely grazing and came to look for me. I am so glad he did.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.
And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

When I am hungry he takes me to pastures where I can safely eat grass and by gentle streams where I can quench my thirst.

“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but
whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give
him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

He sometimes has to show me the way, using his shepherds crook and staff, but now I know he only has my best interests at heart. He does not want me to get lost again. My shepherd once told me;

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose
heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”
Endure hardship as
discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his
I sleep at night in a sheep pen. My Shepherd lays down across the door to protect me. I need protection from wolves who may come among the flock and kill steal and destroy my family. He even taught me how to recognise these false sheep.

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but
inwardly they are ferocious wolves.By their fruit you will recognize them. Do
people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?Likewise every good
tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear
bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear
good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will
recognize them."
In the morning the shepherd calls. I now know his voice so well that I can tell him apart from all the other voices. I only follow him, I don’t go with a strangers voice that I don’t recognise.

"He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is
that you do not belong to God.”

My shepherd will do anything for my, even die for me.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the

Once when we were attacked by wolves it was only my shepherd who stayed to protect us. The other hired hands ran away, but my shepherd stayed.

They say that sheepdogs and their owners look alike after a while. I want to be like my shepherd. I want to grow up to be just like him, caring and tender, and strong when I need to be. I want to live with him forever. He said something then that comforted me…

“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told
you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a
place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be
where I am.
You know the way to the place where I am going.”

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