Shepherding the Flock. The familiar image of the shepherd and his sheep illustrate the truth that we all have a Father in heaven patiently waiting for his sons to step into the peace and comfort only He can provide. No matter how remarkable or pitiful our earthly lives have been (or will be), the Father knows and will always be the good shepherd to His flock.
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep.” — John 10:14-15.
Comfort in God’s Sovereignty
How about you? Do Jesus’ words and imagery provided in this passage give you comfort? Comfort in knowing that the Father knows us in all things past, present, and future. On the other hand, do you struggle with accepting that gift, no questions asked? As for me, pride and doubt have frequently gotten in the way of receiving this gift.
Pride as in “I don’t need anyone’s help, spiritual or otherwise, to make it through.” Doubt as in “If you only knew the failures and hardships I have endured in my son to father relationship; this is the stuff of TV dramas.”
Shepherding The Flock
Back to the verse at hand, a keyword in this passage that represents you and me is the very last word, “sheep,” plural not singular. The point may be obvious, but sheep travel in flocks. The reason is also apparent; it is safer together than alone. Maybe you have seen TV documentaries on the African savannah where the first thing a predator does to conquer his prey is to separate it from the flock. Once that happens, it is over for the victim. In other words, it is better to stick with the herd for protection. I am starting to appreciate that we sheep are better off traveling together as flocks.
How does that apply to me as a husband and dad? What I am learning, is that there are days when I feel like I am not up to the daunting task of shepherding the flock God has provided me. The predator is working to separate me from the herd. By filling me with doubt and reminding me of all the ways I have failed as a husband, son, and father during my time here on Earth. There is no doubt; the demands of this world are non-stop and left on my own I will fall prey to this world every time. Thankfully, I have discovered a way to improve my chances of not becoming prey to this world and rely on the good shepherd.
Shepherding The Flock as a Group
One thing is true: we all have a unique story to live out as a husband, son, and father. Even though each of our stories is one-of-a-kind, it is not good to travel alone but as a flock.
What I mean is, find some like-minded men to join up with; if one does not exist, maybe you need to be the shepherd of a flock of your own.
The type and format of the group you choose can take many forms; I have found comfort, learning, and guidance from many different kinds of groups. The format of the group is not as important as the fact that your group is coming together.
Invite the Father into your story and to be a part of the flock. An added challenge may mean being bold and inviting some men to join you; it may also mean humbling yourself to come into a group as a willing participant to hear, learn and apply God’s word. You never know this group may be just what you (or someone in your group) need to help you through your battle, not alone, but as a part of a healthy flock of men.
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