Shepherds and Shepherdesses
Rev. Sudha Mehta©
The hunger began to grow in me quite early in my new life in Christ!
A hunger to tell others about the Shepherd who rescued me. But my “rescue” didn’t look anything like a “rescue” at that point. People did not know, but I knew something had changed inside me. I no longer wanted to end my life, I wanted to live. I wanted to live for my children, to share this new hope with them, my family and anyone else that would listen!
Even though life actually became much, much worse for a long while, I now had a Shepherd who was not going to leave me. Unseen and invisible, yet very real, living in me through His Holy Spirit, this Shepherd was the powerful force that brought new hope. I knew my circumstances did not own me any longer.
One day, as I sat reading His word, this jumped out at me:
Isaiah 6: 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”(NASB)
“Send me” I wept, “Please send me!”
I felt intensely grateful for the Shepherd finding me, and felt safe in this Fortress that He Himself was, I wanted everyone who was in pain of any kind to know Him. Said another way . . . I wanted to be a “shepherdess.” I heard His call to the Ministry with my whole being.
In the Bible the theme of sheep and shepherd runs strong. God appointed shepherds, (His prophets, priests and even rulers) to look after His sheep (the populace). The shepherds are the ones called to watch over and to guide the sheep. They are expected to care well for them. In the New Testament we are told:
Ephesians 4: 11 And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (KJV)
These are the shepherds of today. They are given oversight over the flock of God (the sheeple).
When I heard the call to Ministry, I was new to the church and knew nothing about what it meant, only that I wanted to tell people about Jesus.
I discovered over time that being a shepherd requires first being a lamb/sheep and learning total dependence upon the GOOD SHEPHERD. Strangely, in order to be a shepherd, one has to be like an innocent lamb, even as Jesus Himself had to be.
Training to be a shepherd means learning patience and perseverance through tests and trials that come your way. Yes, there is formal study, but formal study alone leaves you only with book knowledge, and leaves you sorely lacking in real-life experience. Some have called real-life experience the “Holy Spirit’s School of Hard-Knocks!” It is true, some things just have to be experienced, not merely studied. One is not complete without the other. Both are necessary to sharpen you as a shepherd.
When I cried out and asked to be a “sent one” I had no idea how much training in tough life experiences I would need. I did study as well, but the real revelations of my own weaknesses that needed work came through the “Hard-Knocks.” Sometimes it felt like I had enough pain to last two lifetimes and more.
Some experiences I would not want my worst enemies to go through. The road was not easy. Nonetheless, through each trial I found myself stronger in my dependence upon my Shepherd, and through it all, I grew strong enough to tend the sheep that He began to entrust in my care.
Sometimes there are shepherds who instead of feeding their flock, choose to feed upon it.
Ezekiel 34: 2 . . . Prophesy and tell them that this is what the Lord GOD says: ‘Woe to the shepherds of Israel, who only feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed their flock? 3 You eat the fat, wear the wool, and butcher the fattened sheep, but you do not feed the flock.
4 You have not strengthened the weak, healed the sick, bound up the injured, brought back the strays, or searched for the lost. Instead, you have ruled them with violence and cruelty. 5 They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and when they were scattered, they became food for all the wild beasts. 6 My flock went astray on all the mountains and every high hill. They were scattered over the face of all the earth, with no one to search or seek for them.’ (NASB)
Certainly God is not happy with these shepherds.
Jesus compares them to hired hands who are in the business of shepherding for personal gain, not caring for the welfare of others. There is nothing wrong with wanting to make a livelihood, but there is everything wrong with doing it at the expense of others.
Jesus-is-the-good-shepherd photo from the Latter Day Saints
John 10: 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd, and the sheep are not his own. When he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf pounces on them and scatters the flock. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired servant and is unconcerned for the sheep.(BSB)
Such shepherds will face judgment before God!
The job of shepherding can be costly in many ways. A good shepherd will always be concerned for the welfare of his flock. David took on a lion and bear to protect his sheep, thus risking his own life. He was a good example of a shepherd.
Interestingly, while other farm animals have to be corralled, sheep follow the shepherd. They must know his voice! They will not follow a stranger, yet they can get lost and go astray easily while grazing. A sheep that is lost and away from the fold and his shepherd is in danger not just from the uncertain terrain, but from predators.
A good shepherd, will not rest until he finds that lamb/sheep. Our shepherd came to find and save us the same way a shepherd goes after a lost sheep.
lost-lamb Photo from Stgeorgeministry.com
lost-sheep Photo from Freebibleimages
Matthew 18: 12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices more over that one sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14 In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.(BSB)
Jesus Himself was a perfect role model, not just of a shepherd, but of the process of becoming one.
Hebrews 5:8 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. 9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,(NASB)
As the perfect sacrificial lamb, He opened not His mouth:
Jesus Cricifixion Photo by endtime-messenger.blogspot.com
1 Peter 2: 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His footsteps: 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.” 23 When they heaped abuse on Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats, but entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.(BSB)
This shepherd gave His life for my sins, and yours. It is not His desire that any one of us should perish. No sin can be present in heaven! All humans have sinned!!
Romans 3: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (KJV)
No human can enter heaven except he/she be cleansed of all sin and be made perfect(free of sin). Jesus carried ALL sin of ALL mankind upon Himself and went to the cross to pay the penalty, for the Bible tells us:
Romans 6: 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (KJV)
What this Shepherd did was suffer the penalty of ALL sin Himself in His body by dying on the cross, and in exchange for taking our sin, He offers us eternal life in heaven in His presence. All we have to do is receive by simple faith. There is no pilgrimage required, no penance, no prayer rituals, no fasting, nothing . . . just “Forgive me, Jesus, and accept me as Your child.” That’s it!
Romans 10: 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (KJV)
This shepherd, when He rose from the dead and ascended to heaven, left his disciples with the Great Commission:
Son of God movie wallpaper Photo
Matthew 28: 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”(BSB)
In keeping with the Great Commission, it says in:
Romans 10: 14 How then can they call on the One in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? (BSB)
This brings me back to my cry, “Lord, send me!” For more than thirty years now, I have been a shepherdess. I still love telling people of my Shepherd, and still follow Him. Each day, I know Him a little better, and love Him a lot more.
He has sent me to you!
If you are looking at this post, then know He has sent me to you. It is not by accident that you have found yourself on this page, it is by His design. He has sent me via this writing to you. He knows you by name, and knows everything about you. He loves you and wants you for His own family. Now is your time to make a decision.
The choice, my friend, is always your own. You have full right to say “NO” and walk away. You will simply remain in your own sin, and bear the consequences thereof. You can say “YES” and be forgiven instantly, in which case you start a new journey with the Good shepherd of your soul, who promises to lead and guide you.
What will you say????
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