Reflections – 26 April 2015 Jesus said “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)
Today was Good Shepherd Sunday and this was a theme that ran through the service—and one that runs through our lives.
Whether I see it as a parable or a metaphor, the image of Jesus as a shepherd looking over me is comforting and apt. It is a role that almost all of us play in some form or another in our own lives, as parents, caregivers, teachers, or friends. And it is one that evolves with our own lives—we are the sheep when we are born and growing up and evolve into shepherds as we grow older—and then often back to sheep again when we are too frail or old to care for others.
In Jesus’s case, however, his “herding instinct” is not selective or evolving, it is constant and for all of us, to the point where he laid down his life for us. As Father Tim said in his sermon, sometimes Christ can search for you for 20 years until he finds you. That’s what he is and what all good shepherds should be—relentless, patient, dedicated.
One of my weekend jobs is volunteering for Fairfax County—most of what I do is drive older people, who often lack transportation, to errands: the grocery store, the bank, the cleaners, etc. It’s a pleasant way to give back to the community and, as I was listening to Tim’s sermon this morning about the good shepherd, I thought “that’s me—I’m a good shepherd for doing this for other people.”
I drive them to their destination, often help guide them through crowded aisles, make sure they get what they need, and get them safely home again. But then I thought more about it and I thought “wait–was this a way of God trying to find me and help me live a more purpose-driven life?”
That was the image that was left with me after the service—all of us running around, leading others or thinking we’re leading; some of us lost, looking to be found again, but probably more of us lost but not knowing it. I’m probably in that latter category—that’s when Jesus reaches down to me and gently nudges me with his staff. He finds me and helps lead me back, even when I think I already know where I’m going.
- How can we better apply the model of the good shepherd to our own lives?
- How do you know when Jesus is calling you back to the fold?
- What will you do when you hear him calling you?