This week we continue on from last week’s post. We talked about the first two of your things that all sheep need to “Lay down in green pastures”:
- They must be free from fear.
- They must be free from fighting and friction with other sheep.
- They must be free from pests, flies and other parasites.
- They must be free from hunger.
This week we will continue on discovering how we can help our flocks to lay down and rest in the presence of the Good Shepherd.
Free from Pests
Sheep can suffer from many ailments where flies, pests and bugs are involved. They don’t have the means to repel these things easily so they will use various methods of action to try and get rid of the pests. They run, shake, stomp, and rub to try to rid themselves of parasites. Their various methods of trying to rid themselves often cause more harm than good. A shepherd must examine and treat the sheep diligently to avoid this.
We often allow the smallest things to keep us from resting in God. I know I personally struggle with this. I have trouble shutting my mind off and word’s really bother me. When I get in these situations, my natural inclination is to try to distract myself with other things: books, movies, games, TV etc. That helps for a bit but like a sheep stomping to shake off flies its ultimate not helpful. I must allow my Shepherd to treat my mind. I must put my mind on things above. I experience perfect peace when I put my mind on Him. His Word provides proper repellent in my mind for every pest I face.
As we lead people we must model our ability to trust God even with the small things that bug us. Be an example of a leader who turns everything over to God. Don’t run, stomp, rub, and fuss when small things happen that bug you. Trust God to apply His bug spray to your life. Ask for His strength in dealing with pests.
Free from Hunger
As sheep experience hunger they wander off to find food to eat. They don’t often “go to bed hungry.” It’s interesting imagery we see in this verse of “green pastures.” We can get the picture that everything in the Bible days was green rolling hills but that’s not exactly true. As David wrote this much of the land would have bene barren and dry. A shepherd worked hard to assure green pastures for his sheep. It didn’t happen on accident. There would be years of clearing, watering, rotating, seeding and weeding involved in green pastures for sheep to enjoy.
As we prepare “food” for our flocks we should work with the same care and dedication. I think the first key is to be fed ourselves. We can’t just fed ourselves when feeding our flock. By that I mean our prayer and devotion life has to be more than just studying to preach and teach. Don’t read the Bible just to fed it, let it fed you first. I make sure that when reading I don’t just look for ways that others can apply it, I must apply it first to me.
Then as we prepare to teach and preach we can do so from an overflow of our own personal relationship. Our careful preparation in the pastures is important also. Where have we not removed rocks of wrong thinking in our presentation? Were have we not removed weeds that look pretty but not provided the proper spiritual nourishment? Where can we rotate fields so that each doctrine is properly shared within their lives? Where do we need to plant new seeds with barren hearts? What are the hard things that we avoid yet need some ploughing of rough ground? What are principles that need watering?