What can earthly shepherds teach us about the heart of our heavenly Father?
Shepherding is not a glorious profession. There are a lot of hardships to endure:
- being out in the elements in all kinds of weather
- sleeping on the ground, oftentimes
- being alone and isolated from human companionship
- the heartbreak of losing a lamb
- the heartbreak of wayward sheep which constantly get into trouble
- danger from thieves and predators
- smelling like the herd, and looking just as wooly
To persevere under such trying circumstances; to give so much to those which can give back so little; to put your life on the line and rarely receive so much as a thanks in return – it takes someone special, someone rare, to be a shepherd and do a good job of it, whether we’re talking about the four footed kind or the two footed variety.
That’s exactly what we have in the Shepherd that our heavenly Father has provided for us. He embodies all that we might admire and appreciate in a human shepherd. Jesus is a shepherd after God’s heart. All that is manifested in his work is a reflection of his Father. And when we allow him to manifest himself through us, we will also be shepherds after God’s heart.