Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lessons Learned from a Shepherd and His Goats

Photo courtesy of: http://tenerifejournal.blogspot.com/2010/03/94-goats-and-city.html
Yesterday as we took Rebekah to her piano lessons, we were blocked in by a herd of goats traipsing through her teacher's neighborhood in La Orotava--it was quite an amazing sight to behold, as there must have been at least 200 of them. It isn't everyday you see a herd of goats going through a residencial area, and it gave us a thrill to watch their behavior. Perhaps the residents weren't happy to watch them graze on their flower beds, and they left behind a great amount of residue which I am sure they didn't appreciate, but we enjoyed it (since it wasn't in our neighborhood).

We watched as the shepherd and his two dogs guided them up the mountain road, crossing and blocking traffic, as an occasional goat would go off to the other side, trailing behind the group. The shepherd would leave the others and run to corral the straggler. It reminded me of the parable in Luke 15, how the good shepherd would leave the ninety-nine sheep and go seek the one that had gone astray.

Much of my husband's work as a pastor revolves around checking the state of the flock. When someone doesn't come to church, or he hears they are having struggles, he is concerned about their welfare. God has put in his heart a love and genuine concern for the people that he ministers too. Sometimes I am tempted to grow weary of people's lack of faithfulness, or when they go "astray" and return to their destructive behaviors, but my husband always seems to have the patience to go after them, again and again, in efforts to restore them to the fold. Not that he "lords" over the flock, but he desires to see them live an abundant, fruitful life, showing them greener pastures.

How much more, our loving Shepherd, deals kindly with us--caring for us in a way that goes far beyond our comprehension. It brought to mind this great promise from the book of Isaiah 40:

"He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young."

By the way, I found the picture on another blog which was taken by a woman who lives in the Canary Islands and photographs her experiences. She takes excellent pictures, if you would like to see them, just click on this link. I love the way she captures the culture here.

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