About a month ago, my neighbor invited me to go and feed their pet goat out on a local ranch. So we all piled into one car, two adults, one child and two very, very excited dogs. My border collie Scout seemed to almost smell this adventure as we drove to our destination. After driving onto the property and parking by the small pen where the goat was located, everyone anxiously piled out of the car. Immediately Scout began to socialize with all the other dogs that came out to greet us. After the greeting ceremony and smelling out all the new trees, Scout was anxious to do some work inherent to his breed. So while we humans went to feed the baby lamb and goats, Scout was looking for animals to shepherd and herd.
Border collie breeds
For those of you who do not know, border collies are extremely intelligent dogs, known for shepherding and herding cattle, sheep and other animals. Sometimes called the four-legged shepherd, they assist the human shepherd and farmer with livestock. Always ready to work, they are happiest when they have a job to do. Extremely loyal, they desire to please their master and long to work closely and intensively being trained by their master.
After investigating the territory, Scout’s instincts began to kick in and he stationed himself outside of the pen with the sheep and goats. Standing inside the pen with animal food in my hand and looking up I could see his brain working, his black and white face cocked to one side strategizing how he can herd the baby goats and lambs that are already caged in a fenced area.
It was so intriguing to watch!
He began to bark to bring fear so that they would heed his direction. The black and white older goats in the cage were fearful of him and would cower in the corner of the pen keeping their eyes fixed on Scout. In contrast, the sweet little lamb and my neighbor’s baby goat came right up to Scout inside the pen greeting and kissing him through the fence. They lingered there trying to snuggle with him while Scout continued to bark. His barking by the way had zero affect on those two, as they did not fear him at all. Instead, they would just stand there cuddling with him and loving on him through the pen fence.
The funny thing is that Scout would get a little frustrated because they would not heed his direction, so then Scout would bark louder ... so loud the cows down the way started mooing almost as if to say “Stop that racket over there!” Meanwhile, the lamb and baby goat continued to kiss him and the adult goats continued to cower.
Then the funniest thing happened, Scout finally comes to me, whining and pleading his case to get me to join him in his quest of herding these animals already in the pen. Finally I just looked at him and said “Scout they are already herded in the fenced area. Give it a rest already.” He cocked his head to one side understanding completely what I said and then immediately stopped barking and let out this sigh. He whined as the disappointment hit him. Realizing his job came to an end and being disheartened, he walked away sulking for about five minutes before he found a new job of playing with the other dogs once again.
“Once a shepherd always a shepherd” I felt myself say under my breath.
Reflecting on this event, it brought me to the spiritual characteristics of the heavenly Shepherd, Christ and His earthly sheep. Always willing to take care of, guard, herd, protect and provide.
In the Bible, there are close to 700 references to the word sheep, ewes, and lambs. Unlike what we experience on a daily basis, sheep were the daily sustenance in the life and times of the people living in the Bible. Sheep were used for food and clothing for a nomadic society.
In addition to the word sheep, the Bible also accounts for the multiple shepherds and shepherdesses throughout the Old Testament, from King David to Rachael, Jacob’s bride. In addition, both major and minor prophets used sheep imagery and analogies to describe the characteristics of almighty God with His creation.
Psalms 23 one of the most famous scriptures tenderly discloses the characteristics of the Good Shepherd and likens a natural shepherd to the wonderful qualities of Christ.
There are countless analogies of Jesus, the Savior of the world, being likened as a sheep. The most important is Jesus the symbolic Passover Lamb.
John the Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb of God who has taken away the sins of the world.”
Jesus Himself declares, “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”
Jesus is the Great Shepherd! Always a shepherd, His goal is to gather the lost sheep of His creation into the fold of God. The wonderful quest that started at the beginning of time has never ceased. In the entire splendor of the creation of the world, God’s heart is after us and He is passionately pursuing a personal relationship with those who will hear and heed his, “Baaaaaa.”
• Will you call out to the Great Shepherd — Christ and be His sheep?
• Ask Him to shepherd you and trust that He will.
• Be faithful to read and study the Bible and pray.
• Believe the Great Shepherd and His word.
Scripture References: Genesis 29: 9-11 (Rachael); I Samuel 16:19 (King David); Psalm 23; John 10; Psalm 8:3-5.
About the author
Simone Lake, is a pastor’s wife and full-time minister, she serves in the areas of Bible teacher, speaker and author. She is also a missionary, mentor and chaplain. She holds a master’s degree in theological studies and attends Church on Randall Place where she serves in various capacities alongside her husband, Pastor John Lake. Read more about her speaking engagements, Bible studies and upcoming events at: www.simonelake.com or www.simonelake.blogspot.com or www.facebook.com.
Tuesday’s Bible Study – Summer Semester, meets 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., at Church on Randall Place, Pine. All are welcome. Call (928) 595-0837 for more information.
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Engaging Encounters: Jesus’ One on One Encounters with various people in the Bible — every last Wednesday of the month from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on KMOG 1420AM or listen online streaming at www.rimcountryradio.com click on KMOG Forum.
Firm Foundations: Payson Roundup Rim Review, first Wednesday of the month.
Speaking at the Awakening Earth Expo in Pine, Aug. 7-8.