So, let’s take a quick look at how our thread has developed so far regarding the nature and work of the Great Shepherd:
- God’s love is not utilitarian. The Shepherd does not value his sheep because of their potential for productivity. He values each one to the extent that he will “leave the 99” to go after the 1 who is in trouble.
- We are not the Shepherd’s property, we are his partners.
- The Shepherd is not who we want him to be; he is who he is. In his relationship with us, he is the life-giver. In his relationship with the Father, he is the Beloved Son.
- The Shepherd has invited us into the relationship of beloved-ness that he himself enjoys with the Father. His shepherding work in our lives is largely about nurturing our capacity to appropriate that relationship.
- The Shepherd knows his sheep. Those who allow him to be presented through themselves will show the same concern for their wellbeing that he would manifest if he were physically present.
How are we doing? Do our efforts as under-shepherds fall more under the category of representing him, or re-presenting him?