What’s the oddest job you or someone you know has on their resume? I’ve been rather mainstream in my work experience since my oddest jobs were camp counselor for autistic children and veterinarian assistant. Although I did muck stalls at a stable one summer in exchange for lessons. I love the smell of the barn to this day! Seriously.
There are some truly bizarre jobs out there–like dog food tester and worm picker. I won’t be applying for those anytime soon. And there are jobs that we don’t think about much in our culture. Like a shepherd. When was the last time you ran into someone who herded sheep on foot for the summer?
My friend did some research on shepherding and found out that modern day shepherds still do things the old fashioned way. They live with their sheep in the hills and valleys 24 hours a day. A shepherd carries the young sheep on his shoulders so that the babies get accustomed to being with him. By doing this the sheep learn that he’s there to protect them. And each shepherd has a specific call for his sheep. At night, two shepherds will bring their separate flocks together in one pen or cave for protection. The sheep co-mingle and hang out in a little late night flock party. But in the morning, one shepherd calls his sheep and moves out, and only his sheep follow him. They know his voice and off they go behind him. The other shepherd’s sheep stay put.
Without a shepherd, sheep are in deep doo doo. They’re not so smart and they’re very flighty. If they’re frightened, they run. Sometimes off a cliff. If they fall, they can’t get up and they’ll starve to death or be sitting ducks (so to speak) for wolves. When food runs out, they continue grazing the same barren land eating dirt–they don’t know to move to another pasture. So the shepherd is constantly counting his sheep to make sure they’re all there. He checks their health and leads them to green pastures. And when one is missing, he leaves the flock and goes after the one. He knows that one sheep by itself won’t last very long out in the world.
And here’s what’s fascinating. If a sheep continues to run away from the shepherd and the flock, the shepherd will break its leg. Not because he wants to hurt the sheep. But because he wants the sheep to learn to stay with him. So while the sheep heals from its broken leg, the shepherd carries it on his shoulders. He feeds it, waters it, speaks to it. Out of love, the shepherd prevents the sheep from wandering by forcing brokenness. And because of that brokenness, the sheep then experiences the love and protection of its shepherd. It learns the sounds and ways of his shepherd like never before as it rides on his shoulders, and heals.
Our Shepherd, Jesus, does the same for us.
Many times we’re shocked by unbearable circumstances that break us. We wonder how God, if He was loving, could allow us to go through such pain. We cry to Him and plead with Him and seek answers. And yet the reality is that if it weren’t for the pain, we’d still be running. We wouldn’t be giving God a second thought. We’d be heading for the cliff or scrounging for nourishment in barren land or running among wolves. So God “breaks” us. He wants us to stay with Him. He wants us to learn His voice. He wants us to trust His protection and know that He is constantly on guard for us. He wants us to let Him carry us on His shoulders while we heal. Then we’ll know that when we’re frightened, hurt, or feeling like our land is too barren, running from God is not the answer. Running to Him is.
Have you been running from God? Do you feel alone? Do you wonder if God knows where you are, or even cares? Make no mistake–He’s calling you. Right now.
Do you feel disconnected? Do you long for true purpose in life, knowing there must be something more to life than the basic existence you have now? What if that longing you feel is God’s call to you? You hear Him. His voice resonates in your spirit. You just don’t recognize His voice.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd who lays His life down for His sheep. We’re His sheep. He calls us. He knows us by name. He wants us to know His voice. He wants us to know Him.
It’s time to stop running. Go to God. Learn His voice. Hear His call. Trust His love. Live under His protection. Heal from the past, and follow Him to greener pastures.
No more broken legs.
“If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.” Matthew 18:12-14
May I pray?
Heavenly Father, thank you for our broken legs. It seems odd to say, but Lord I praise You for doing whatever it takes to stop us from running from You. Forgive us for our flighty sheep ways. Help us to know Your voice. Hold us close as we heal. Teach us to follow You. And give us the courage to turn around and run to You instead of running away. Amen.
Q4U: What’s the oddest job you or someone you know has on their resume?