Um, A Little Help Please!

I read an account this morning of a young boy who was responsible for caring for the family sheep.  Each morning the boy would go out and find a particular sheep with its head caught in the fence.  Deciding to find out how this sheep continued to get stuck over and over again, the boy watched from the house window.  As the sheep grazed, he drew closer and closer to the fence, until eventually, he would force his head through the fence in order to graze from the other side, not realizing that his head wouldn't come back through the fence as easily as it went in.  I guess the little fellow was too focused on discovering whether or not the grass truly was greener on the other side of the fence to realize that he was headed for trouble.

The part that got me was that the same sheep got stuck time after time after time.  You'd think he'd learn.  You'd think after getting stuck for the tenth time, he'd wise up and say, "You know what?  That grass is good, but it's just not worth it."  But, no.  He didn't seem to get it. . . and neither do we.

As the author recalled this story from his childhood, he commented, "For my valiant effort I was often kicked and, to make matters worse, the little bugger never once came and thanked me afterward; he would just run off. . . As you can imagine, I wasn't overly fond of the sheep, but I still found myself doing the same thing each day hoping for some recognition from the sheep and getting none."

How many times, dear friends, has the Lord, our shepherd, had to help us out of another mess that we got ourselves into?  And how many of those times did we simply run off without a word of gratitude, only to go right back and stick our head through the fence again?  We're no better or brighter than that crazy little sheep who never learned his lesson.  We, too, allow discontentment to set in and wonder if the grass truly is greener on the other side of the fence,  And we, too, become so consumed with what we want that we fail to heed the danger we're placing ourselves in. . . even though we've been down that very same road before.  Thank goodness for the Shepherd!

To read how the man cared for the ignorant little sheep in spite of his dislike for the critter is heartwarming, but you know what touches my heart even more?  Despite my sheep-like behavior of wandering off and getting myself into trouble time and time again, my Shepherd still loves me.  He doesn't just care for me or put up with me.  He loves me!  Go figure!

And, friend, He loves you too.  No matter what you've done or where you've been, the Shepherd loves you and is willing to help you out of the mess you've gotten yourself into.  He's done it for me more times than I can count, and He'll do it for you.

May I suggest, however, that we learn to keep our heads on our own side of the fence?  It's just better that way!

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. - Psalm 23:1