Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11). What’s so good about a shepherd anyway? I mean, a shepherd is not the most desirable vocation by a long shot even today. As a matter of fact, a shepherd in the time of Jesus was considered to be the lowest of the low. These people would spend weeks, and sometimes months out in the wilderness with their sheep, tending to their every need. They were known to have quite a nasty scent about them, as a matter of fact, one could say they reeked to high heaven! I mean, how ripe would one be if they didn’t bathe or change clothes for weeks on end. And then of course the shepherd was also known for his desire to be alone, away from the rest of society. Don’t bother me and I won’t bother you was the motto. For certain, shepherds were known to interact with each other, as a matter of fact they at times combined flocks and moved from one field to another to feed and water the flocks. But for the most part, shepherds were considered outcasts, and low lifers; a label well earned.
So why does the Bible continually refer to shepherds as good? Why does Jesus say, "I am the Good Shepherd? A good shepherd? It means everything when it comes to the reason why God uses this very pertinent analogy. You see, when a shepherd calls, his sheep follow his voice; if another calls, they're not likely to respond.
Imagine a hillside where a few flocks of sheep are grazing together. The flocks intermingle and feed on the pastureland … a big woolly mix where they all look pretty much alike. When the time comes to move on, the shepherds call out to the sheep. The flocks separate, and each sheep follows its own shepherd. That's the sort of imagery that the Lord is using here. Jesus compares people to sheep. For one thing, you can't tell who they belong to just by looking at them. If you watch a camera panning a crowd at a football game, you cannot pick out who is a Christian and who is not. Christians do not have some sort of visible mark on their foreheads or a glowing aura that declares their faith. They are not extra fit or extra healthy. They look pretty much like everybody else, no matter who they follow. So, what's the difference? What sets our Lord's people apart from the rest of the sheep? Well, His sheep hear His voice; and because they hear His voice, they know Him and follow Him. We hear the voice through the Word of God and through prayer. What an opportunity for us to outreach and communicate that very Word to the lost in our community and pray to our Heavenly Father for guidance.
A shepherd views his sheep almost like a parent views their children. With love. And that is where we are in Foresthill. We need shepherds’ folks! People who are willing to embrace the reality of a town that is truly in need of “Good Shepherds”. If you feel called to help, please contact me at the church at 530-367-3650 and we will work together to revitalize Lake County.
Please join us each Sunday at New Hope Lutheran Church, 22200 Foresthill Dr., Foresthill, CA 95631. Service starts at 9:30am. All are welcome so please, come as you are. God bless you and yours this day and always … Pastor Chris