The Problem With Sheep

Without Jesus we are simply sheep without a shepherd, wandering and lost.

As I observe the events going on in our world and even closer in my life, I am reminded of the story of Jesus feeding the people in Mark 6:31-56
The story takes place after the sending out of the disciples and the martyrdom of John the Baptist.
Jesus knowing that the disciples were in need of a break, says “come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest”.
So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. Mark 6:30-32
But the crowd of 5000 or more followed Jesus to this desert place arriving ahead of Him.
Each one had their own reasons.
Maybe they had heard about the miracles and healing.
Or about this teacher whose words stirred hearts as no teacher ever had before.
Maybe they were curious, or maybe just following the crowd.
Maybe they sensed that this man had something to do with the emptiness in their heart, that nothing seemed to fill.
In his excellent commentary on the book of Mark, “A Ransom For Many” Mark Wilmshurst writes, ” without Jesus we are all simply sheep without a shepherd, wandering and lost.”
Not much has changed from over 2000 years ago.
Today we still seek the miraculous, someone to speak to our situation, to help us make sense of it all, healing.
Sometimes we are curious, just following the crowd, and like the seed scattered by the wayside, nothing much ever comes of our curiosity.
But I believe the three things we all seek regardless of our reasons, is direction, rest, peace.
And most of our efforts, money, success, power, sex, drugs, to find these things are temporary at best they do not last.
In this story Jesus does not perform miracles at least to start with, or healing.
He sees this crowd although purposeful in following him to this deserted place, like sheep about to wander off the edge of the cliff.
And Jesus understood the real need.
God, my shepherd!
I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. –
Psalm 23:1 The Message
These words written by David during the most difficult time of his life, have real meaning in our time and our situations.
Jesus knew for those gathered that day and all who would come after our greatest need is Him.
He will provide the direction to take us through the storms of life.
And even in the midst of them will lead us to the green pastures, quiet waters, refreshing our souls, and right paths.
It is interesting to me that even though Jesus understood the real need of the crowd gathered that day was not miracles, He still provided for their physical needs.
Not just a snack but an abundant meal. So much so that twelve baskets full were collected when it was over.
Wherever you may find yourself today remember there is a Shepherd who loves his sheep.
If you’re found He will never stop caring for you.
If you’re lost He will never stop looking for you.
Green pastures, still water, rest, peace, a shepherd who always watches over us, sounds like just what we need…


“Now at last they were beginning chapter One of the great story no one on earth has read: which goes on forever”. I love this line at the end of the Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. Everyone has a story to tell and ultimately we are all part of a greater story that someday will be revealed in full. “ For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things”. ( 1 Corinthians 13:12). My story is not remarkable, although the events I have had the privilege in my life to witness have been. I grew up in the south “the land of cotton” and the old times there were definitely not forgotten. I remember where I was and what I was doing when JFK and Martin Luther King were murdered in Dallas and in Memphis. I remember the Civil Rights movement, a time of great unrest and change. I remember the dawning of the “Age of Aquarius” in the late 1960’s. It was also the dawning of my love for playing music, a love that has stayed with me throughout my life. If my life were chapters in a book one would tell of my precious bride of 20+ years who endured so much and stood beside me through the good and the bad. One would describe the blessings of being a father and a grandfather. One would tell about how despite being “the wretch” the song sings about God was able to change me, and use me to make a difference in others lives, make me a servant in His church, and surround me with friends all because of His goodness. All part of a story that has had many twists and turns. I think of the words Jimmy Buffet wrote in one of my favorite songs "As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin’ man I have chalked up many a mile Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks And I learned much from both of their styles" And so it is true for me. But in all of my travels and all I have read and experienced nothing compares to where I am headed. The place where my story here ends and the story that goes on forever begins! "" I am confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on until completion until the day He returns". Philippians 1:6 My hope is that as we all run our race that in some small way my words will encourage and speak to you, as your story is being written. And draw you ever closer to the One who loves you. Further up and further in!
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