Tag Archives: boundaries

“I Just Wanna Be a Sheep”

The following post was written by a fellow blogger from New Zealand, Johanna. Unfortunately, Johanna was not in a place where she could access my blog to add her post, so she emailed me the text. Johanna blogs at Isaiah 41v10. Be sure to pay her a visit…she may have some more shepherding advice on hand 😉


‘I just wanna be a sheep’

I come from a country that is famous for its sheep. New Zealand used to have more than 70 million sheep.  Now the number is about 29 million, according to teara.govt.nz.  August is the best time of year to see the sheep, as it is late winter, when the ewes are lambing. It is delightful to watch the lambs gambolling in the fields playfully, so different from their sedate mothers.

Thinking about sheep gets me pondering all the Biblical references to sheep. The way we farm sheep here in NZ is quite different from 1st Century Palestine or how David cared for his father’s sheep before he became king of Ancient Israel. These differences can teach us something about our relationship with God.

Shepherds in the Bible

It’s clear from reading the Bible texts that the good shepherds in those days (like David) had a small number of valued sheep, each one of which was known by the shepherd, and who knew the shepherd and followed him.

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost. “ (Luke 15:4-6 ESV)

Jesus also talks about the shepherd’s relationship to his sheep in John 10:3-4, where he says, “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. “

Contrast this with modern farming, where a farmer will often have hundreds, if not thousands of sheep. They live in fields fenced by barbed wire. They are seen as stupid animals, that the shepherd herds by using dogs to make them obey his will. You do not see a shepherd leading his sheep, instead driving them in front of him. They have an eartag with a number to identify them to the sheep farmer.

To me this speaks of two different ways of relating to God.

What kind of sheep are you?

One kind is motivated by fear, and kept safe by barbed wire. These fences are like the extra rules that we make for ourselves or that others make for us, to keep us safe and away from sin. But they also keep us from following the Shepherd to green pastures. Instead we are boxed in where the grass has been overgrazed, living on stale hay.

Some sheep break out, thinking that the grass looks greener elsewhere, and end up on a busy road or in a ditch. This is like those who break away from legalism to do their own thing, or those who fear the Shepherd and his voice, and shipwreck their lives as a result. Both are far from the Shepherd.

The Good Shepherd’s sheep are motivated by love for their Shepherd. They trust him to keep them safe and fed, and they follow him wherever he leads. He leads them to green pastures and restores their souls. He protects them in the darkest valleys and lays down his life for them. Jesus said,  “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth.”

Jesus is not a factory farmer. He wants us to know his voice and follow him out of love. He doesn’t want us to be penned in by traditions or extra rules, but instead to walk with him to green pastures and fresh water.

Will you follow him?

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That’s Anthony on the far left. He always has to get his nose in the picture.

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Filed under animals, Bible Study, Christian Living

Thursday Thoughts (Daughters and Gender Identity)

It is February 13, the day after the big snow, and I’m ready to share some thoughts. I have a headache after eating Italian food (pasta fagioli) and discussing boyfriends and boundaries with one of my daughters, so I won’t make this too deep. Too much thinking could cause an aneurysm. 

  • Birthdays and age. Yesterday was my wife’s birthday, but I can’t tell you how old she is, either. Why is that? Why can’t women reveal their age? There are women who look really old, yet they’re only in their 20’s or 30’s. On the other hand, there are those like Christie Brinkley. Have you seen her? She’s 60 and still looks like she did in the Vacation movie, which is better than we can say for Chevy Chase! But my wife looks better than Brinkley in a red Ferrari, so what’s wrong with telling her age?

  • Teenage daughters. I have ’em. I deserve an award. 

  • Defenders. Real men defend their daughters. Real dads don’t care about what the world says regarding dating and relationships – they consider all boys to be predators. You see, my daughters have boundaries, boundaries they have chosen to put in place. If I see any of those boundaries being challenged, I am likely to react in a way most disagreeable. I will defend those boundaries, even if my daughters momentarily forget where they were drawn.

  • Respect. I have the utmost respect for a young man who respects my daughter – and her boundaries. Smart boy.

  • Bluffing. We all have read those cute little lists like, “Rules for Dating My Daughter.” The only problem is that most girls (and their boyfriends) think their dads are bluffing. The somewhat over-the-top threats and ridiculous rules in these lists tend to contribute the sense of disbelief. However, some dads don’t bluff when it comes to their daughters. The only way to find out which ones are bluffing, and which ones are not, is to cross that line. 

  • Gender identity options. In a recent move to accommodate all the sexual perversion in the world, Facebook created a whole new list of options for those who struggle with deciding what boxes to check. Gone are the simple “male” and “female” options to list on one’s wall. Now you have options ranging from “transgender” to “fluid.” Facebook said, “We want you to feel comfortable being your true, authentic self.” 

  • Your true, authentic self. How do you figure out what your “true, authentic self” is? I have a suggestion or two, maybe three. First, check to see what parts of the human anatomy you do or do not have. Second, what part of the baby-making process are you most likely to be responsible for. Third, have you watched Pride and Prejudice more than once? If you check the box marked “fluid,” you’re simply an authentic pervert.

Have a great weekend, my friends, and don’t forget to go to church! Not only might you find yourself getting blessed, but you could be a blessing to others, as well.

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Filed under Culture Wars, current events, General Observations, Parenting, Relationships and Family