Every year out here in Bayfield Colorado, there is a real live sheep drive.
The first year I realized they actually did this thing, I was riding my bike down the local highway 501. I was riding about 30 mph around a corner, and when I turned the final stretch I slammed on my brakes in front of 10,000 sheep, literally being pushed down the road. There were real shepherds, real sheep, real dogs, it was SURREAL!
I couldn't believe it. Here we are in a civilized county, and they're still driving sheep from low country to the mountains. After the shock, I just stood over my bike and laughed. It was amazing. The "Baahs" and the smell, it was incredible.
Well, my kids thought it would be fun to raise a sheep at our place. So my amazing wife went to the shepherds and asked if she could "mother" one of the younger ones, and then return it at the end of the summer. A few days later Stanley joined the family.
We gave it a bottle to feed on, bought "sheep" food, and paraded that thing around the camp all summer long. My kids thought it was awesome, but most of the guys had other plans for Stanley. They wanted to make lamb chops or something, but kids were having none of it.
I watched that lamb grow up and become a protector of my kids. It was amazing. He would chase off unknown intruders, wrangle them up the hill, and sit with them to be their mother. It was crazy! But, one thing I knew for sure, this animal wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed.
His eyesight was really bad.
He didn't really understand it wasn't his job to be their mother.
And if they didn't do what he thought was right, he just head butted them in the behind to move them along.
It was funny, but evident on all accounts, this animal was STUPID!
You can imagine what I felt this morning when I ready John 10. It was like Stanley resurrected all over again.
Jesus uses images of sheep and shepherds to make his point about taking care of those who follow Him. "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—" (John 10:14)
I don't know about you, but after having a sheep as a part of my family for a while, i'm a little insulted. Jesus refers to His followers as Sheep who know His name. I'm not gonna lie, I struggled with that for a while, until I started thinking about all the times I act like a dumb animal.
I think I know what's best.
I think I know where I'm going.
I really don't get it sometimes.
And truth be told, my spiritual eyes are kind of "less than perfect" if you know what I mean.
I guess this morning, I'm posturing my spirit in such a way to understand I can trust the good shepherd. For He is Good. He is trustworthy. He is going to take care of me. He does have my best interests in mind.
If you have a chance to come out to Colorado during the sheep drive, I would totally recommend it. The spiritual significance of this passage comes to life as you see how sheep respond to the Shepherd's voice, and they're goal is only to create an animal that can go to market either for the coat or the meat.
Maybe understanding Jesus' full meaning helps us to place our direction in His hands.
Maybe seeing the need for someone to help direct us isn't such a bad idea.
In fact, maybe knowing I can't do it on my own is Exactly where God wants me this morning.
May I hear your voice today, and respond.
May I not travel on my own road that leads to destruction.
My prayer: God, Help me be the sheep that can know and respond to your call.