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John 10:3-4, “The sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out … he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.”
Jesus is the great Shepherd of the sheep. He is the One who shows us how to be shepherdesses of our little flocks.
I was born and bred in the land of New Zealand, down the bottom of the world. New Zealand is a sheep country and my father was a world champion sheep shearer. In New Zealand, the sheep farmers do not have a little flock of sheep like the eastern shepherd. They have thousands of sheep. When bringing the sheep in from the paddocks for drenching, crutching or shearing, the shepherds drive the sheep. They do this, riding on their horses and with the help of trained barking dogs called Hunterways. My father was an expert trainer of these dogs.
However, the Eastern shepherd to whom Jesus is likened does not drive his sheep. He walks in front of them and leads the way. He watches out for the pitfalls. He faces the danger first and protects them. When visiting Israel, I loved to watch the Bedouin shepherd leading his little flock of sheep and goats across the desert.
This is what we have to do, dear mother. We must not drive our children. It only leads to rebellion and defiance. We walk in front of them and lead the way. Jesus beckoned each of his disciples to “Come, follow me.” In the same way, we tell our children, “Come, children, follow me. I’ll show you the way to go. I’ll lead you on the right path. You won’t stumble if you follow me.” (Jeremiah 31:9) We give them vision. Inspire them to greatness. Motivate them to godliness. Encourage them to dream great dreams. Stir them to fulfill their destiny which has been marked out for them before the foundation of the world.
I am always challenged by the Scripture in Ezekiel 16:44, “As is the mother, so is her daughter.” As we walk out in front of our children, what kind of an example are we giving them? Are we happy for them to follow in our footsteps?
The good shepherdess also leads her flock to still waters. She makes her home a place of peace. I know this is not an easy task, especially if you are raising a large family. Children are not perfect (nor are we) and there are often storms to quiet. The good shepherdess not only protects her children from the storms outside but seeks God’s wisdom to quell the storms inside the home. (Psalm 23:3 and Isaiah 49:10)
We are to also lead our flock in the paths of righteousness. Did you notice that it says to lead them? Our children will watch what we do and follow in our paths. They notice whether our walk with the Lord is genuine or hypocritical. They notice if we take them to church on Sundays but do not live like a believer throughout the week. They notice whether we love to pray. They notice whether we love the Word of God and it is a living book to us. They notice if we watch movies that we wouldn’t want them to see. Do we have one standard for our children and another for ourselves?
Remember, we are out in front showing them the way. May we be like the great Shepherd “Who teaches you to profit, who leads you by the way you should go.” (Isaiah 48:17)
Love from NANCY CAMPBELL
“Lord, please help me to shepherd my little flock like you shepherd me. Help me to be a good example for them to follow. Amen.”
I am walking out in front of my children, inspiring them to godly living.
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