If you’ve ever taught Sunday School to children, then you probably know that the teacher often gets more out of the lesson than the students do. I taught a lesson this week on Luke chapter 15. This passage contains the parables of the lost coin, the lost sheep, and the prodigal child. The lost sheep is my favorite because I love the analogy of Christ being my good shepherd. I’m not so sure that I like being called a sheep however. Do you know how dumb sheep are? Sheep will wander off a cliff if no one is looking. They don’t have any clue that there are wolves and other animals around that want to devour them. And worst of all, they don’t realize that they NEED a shepherd. If you could interview a sheep, I would imagine it to say about its shepherd, “He’s a great guy, but I’m not sure why he hangs around us. He needs to get a life and let us do our thing.” The same sheep’s story may change drastically if he ever had to be rescued just once.
The “bottom line” in the lesson last week was “Everyone needs to be rescued… even me.” That is so true. I am absolutely like those dumb sheep in more ways than I care to admit.
- I need a shepherd.
I was headed straight for a cliff called “Hell” and I needed to be told that only Christ could save me. For the longest time I thought I could be good enough to get to Heaven all on my own. The Bible calls that foolishness. How could I really believe that I could be good enough to impress God anyway?
- I need protection, DAILY.
There is a ravenous wolf out there wanting to devour me and my family. Satan is very real and he delights in leading God's children astray.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
I Peter 5:8
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
- I am prone to wander. This world has so many wonderful distractions that I tend too often to take my eyes off my shepherd. This is when I need a reminder of the previous point! Even the good things in life can lead to ruin if I let them take me away from my Protector who wants what is best for me.
A friend challenged me just this morning of the importance of prayer in all of life’s issues. Too often I try to take control of my life. I charge into my day with a plan in mind and sometimes fret over whether or not I’ve made the best choices for my family. Do I send my 4-year-old to preschool? If so, where? Is it wise use of our finances? Do I need to go get that root canal, or do I need a second opinion? Is my teenage child’s schedule too busy? Do I need to make a change? Do I join a Bible study group at church this Fall? If so, which one? What do I cook for dinner? When do I go to the grocery store?
There are hundreds of decisions I make in each day and I wonder how many of them I am trying to make without consulting my Shepherd. Even more, how many are actually taking my eyes off of God and leading me down a wrong path… a path that leads only to worry, possible pain, or a false security which leaves me open to attack?
Lord, for today, let my eyes remain on you. Lead me in the way YOU want me to go. Let my ears be stretching to hear your voice. And, help this dumb sheep stay on the right path.