According to CNN, “Sheep are like a bad teenager. They sneak out in the middle of the night, and then you have to call the cops to go find them and bring them home. That’s pretty much what happened earlier this week, when a 1,300-strong flock in Huesca, Spain snuck right past its shepherd and took a hike, presumably leaving him a little sheepish.” 1
Millions have seen the video of the sheep strutting through the Spanish town around 4:30 a.m. this past Tuesday morning. Several people called police about the fleeing flock. So they went and woke up the sleeping shepherd who helped officers corral the sheep back to their pen.
Ironically, the wooly wanderers take the same path every year and may have wanted to prove they could do it without the shepherd. We’ll never know.
What we do know is that God has chosen to call us sheep. According to Phillip Keller, who wrote A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23, “The behavior of sheep and human beings is similar in many ways. Our mass mind (or mob instincts), our fears and timidity, our stubbornness and stupidity, our perverse habits are all parallels of profound importance.” 2
Sheep, whether in Spain or God’s church have one job: stay with the Shepherd. Everything always works better when we stay with the Shepherd.
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). That’s exactly what He did and still does.
He also said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Our ONE JOB as His sheep is to stay as close to Him as we can, so we can hear Him, know Him and follow Him.
Shepherds, those privileged to serve as leaders within God’s flock, have ONE JOB too: take care of the sheep. Obviously, sleeping shepherds can create serious situations for sheep who depend on them. If you’re a leader (shepherd) at any level in God’s church you need to make sure you’re always sober, alert, and watchful, caring more for the sheep than you do yourself.
Peter encouraged leaders in the first century church, “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you, nor for shameful gain, but eagerly” (1 Peter 5:2).
We know what sheep get out of this deal. But what’s in it for the shepherds? Peter said, “And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory” (1 Peter 5:4).
Sheep and shepherds have one job and if we do it well, one day, the Bible says, “For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7:17).
So, don’t sneak off. Stay close.
© 2016. Barry L. Cameron
2 A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23. Phillip Keller. Zondervan. 1970. Pgs. 23-24
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Today, more than 8,000 people call Crossroads their church home. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.