Hello, again. My name is Meek-One. I am a sheep. Last week, I began telling my story. But not really my story, it’s the story of my Shepherd-King.
As I follow His voice, the roads, paths, and alleyways that I travel take me to places of meaningful work. These paths go everywhere, and I follow where my Shepherd-King leads. Great heights with beautiful views that amaze me and cause me to worship Him. For the Shepherd-King is also the Father-Creator.
Deep valleys are also found along the way. Dark, dangerous places where my very life is threatened. It is in these places where Wolf-Man and Lion-Hearted lie in wait, seeking to devour me. They can inflict serious injury, but they are also capable to spreading insidious diseases that will riddle my body and slowly eat it away. Death itself is in the shadows of these valleys.
Wild-Stallion and Dog-Herder stand on the high places, looking down at me and laughing at my peril. They cannot believe the naivety – stupidity, really – that it takes to follow the Shepherd-King’s voice into places that put me at such risk. “What a sheep!” Even within my own flock, Pride-Full, Simple-Minded and Obstinate-One refuse to follow me here. There are many reasons for this: perceived comfort, sloth, busy-ness, distractions of the world, and independence among them.
But here’s the thing. In these valleys, the presence of my Shepherd-King is even more real than when I walk in the great heights. We are still yoke-mates. He is my protector from those that would devour me. He will ultimately heal me of all disease. I have zero reason to be fearful. And in these valleys is where the bulk of work is to be accomplished. This is where contentment, blessing and riches are earned (given, really, just because I followed His voice). When others in the flock are living in their perceived comfort up high, I am actually being comforted.
Among the riches I enjoy is a bountiful table – a veritable feast – for every meal. This table is prepared right in view of my mortal enemies. Among the invited guests are the flock mates that have traveled with me, Poor-Spirit, Mourn-Full, Merciful-One and Peace-Maker. An abundance of food and drink is before us. Others in the flock believe that this scene is an opportunity to be spiteful to our enemies. “You think to devour us; watch us enjoy this bounty. But just watch while our Shepherd-King protects us.”
May it never be! Out of our abundance, our enemies are invited to the table. Our Shepherd-King loves our enemies as much as He loves us. We are called to this same love. The table that has been prepared is an opportunity for invitation into the flock. Even, especially, for those that are not sheep. The faithful sheep are honored at this banquet, seen in a completely different light. No longer mere sheep but seen now as followers of the true Shepherd-King, walking roads, paths, and alleyways that only appear to be meandering. In fact, when seen correctly these paths are very, very straight.
They lead directly to the Shepherd-King’s house. And all are invited to come and live there for eternity. If only they will hear His voice and follow.