Who’s your shepherd?
These days, we talk about mentors in business, spiritual guides in religion, and buddies in grammar school. But the Bible talks about shepherds…a lot. Moses was a shepherd for his father-in-law Jethro’s flocks, before he became a shepherd of the Hebrew people. David was the boy-shepherd in his father Jesse’s family, until he became the shepherd of a new Hebrew nation.
We know well from many Christmas pageants that the lowly shepherd were the first to recognize the infant Jesus as Messiah – the one who would become “the Good Shepherd of his people.”
Many sermons on this Sunday affectionately known as “Good Shepherd Sunday” have been preached about sheep and lambs: their docility, the vulnerability, and yes, their stupidity. But I’d rather focus on humans this year. Who’s your shepherd? Who has led you, supported you at crucial times in your life? Who has warned you from dangers, and perhaps challenged your youthful arrogance? Who has been a friend when the world didn’t seem very friendly?
I think of certain teachers I was blessed to have, and one or two priests too. My music teachers and choral conductors saw potential in me, and encouraged me without trying to make me in their own image. My parents shepherded me wisely when I was young, and my older brothers did when I was older. Today, I have a few close friends who listen when I am confused, support when I am down, and steer me in the right direction when I am confused. When I think about it, I’ve been blessed with shepherds throughout my life. I believe God has worked through each of them.
I hope you have, too. I encourage you this week to think about the good shepherds in your own life. Who are they? Remember the times they guided and supported you. Give thanks to God for them. In them, Christ our Good Shepherd has touched your life. JBM