The Shepherd and the Sheep: Stray Sheep

I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands. – Psalms 119:176 (NIV)

I have been lost before; lost in such a way that I had no hope of finding my way to safety on my own.  Only the effort of someone else seeking me out and finding me brought me back to safety.  I don’t remember the incident, but I have heard the story from my parents a number of times.  It involved a grocery store, three other siblings keeping my mother’s attention and my own overzealous curiosity.  My mom said when she found me, I was walking with one of the young ladies who worked at the store, looking for my family.

There are dozens of passages in scripture about sheep and many of them refer to them being lost.  It seems that sheep are prone to wander, much like curious children in grocery stores.   This is where the shepherd comes in; lost sheep need finding, and once found need watching. They are not independent or resourceful creatures, needing companionship, care, guidance and protection.    I find that I am no less the child to God that I was to my mother in the grocery store.  My curiosity draws me away from the flock to unsafe places, and it is only the shepherd’s patient searching that finds me and brings me back to the fold.

It is comforting to know the man after God’s own heart struggled with the same issue.  The warrior poet was also a lost little lamb and his prayer in the passage above rings with hope.  He fervently believed that his shepherd would seek him out and that he would recognize the shepherd’s voice when he called.  That is the discipline I desperately need to strive after; an ear to hear my shepherd’s voice.  I long to have the maturity and wisdom to hear His voice above all others and avoid the wandering altogether.  I look forward in hope to the day that I am content to rest in His pasture, but that day is not yet here.  Until then, I am grateful that my Shepherd knows me and searches me out when I stop listening to His voice.

5 responses to “The Shepherd and the Sheep: Stray Sheep”

  1. It is so fitting that I read this story on your post. I am still hoping to have my son, Mark, – lost for 42 years find his way ‘home’ to me. The sheperds that I hope will help find him are at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Prayers are always appreciated, too.

  2. Chris, a friend of mine who raised sheep once told me it wasn’t that sheep were stupid animals, more like naive. It is pleasing and gives such security to think of our Shepherd, Wisdom Himself, not only leading us, but protecting us from harm. There’s a lot of deceit out there, a lot of wolves in sheep’s clothing. But we can flock together, safeguarded behind the Master’s staff.

    Thanks for the word picture. Well said.

    • Thanks Cathy. I have been reading through some amazing passages on sheep and am really looking forward to this series of posts. Thank you for the steadfast encouragement and friendship.

  3. Hey Chris, Great post. No one really wants to be cut off from a family that loves them. I’m so thankful that we have a Good Shepherd that will stop the herd to find the one lost sheep. I’m a shepherd of small children and both large and small animals. When one of my flock goes missing my purpose is to bring them back to safety with me. The intensity felt to restore my lost sheep, is nothing compared to what God must feel for each of us. I’m so deeply impressed with our good Shepard.
    Thank you Chris

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