The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd

Story heard and shared by Charlie Musser and retyped by Brittany Shears.

There once was a father who had a son he loved dearly and who he took great joy in. While the father had intended to give his son the world, unfortunately the family’s flock had fallen in disarray due to the lies of their greatest rival. The father had created and nurtured the flock and though he did not need the flock he treasured them and sought to restore them.

Seeing his father’s grief the son volunteered to go out and help make the way for the flock to return to the father. Though the way came at great cost, the son succeeded in his mission and the way was made. The entire household rejoiced at such a victory. The flock was finally able to be restored and the son became known as the good shepherd.

Overtime though the son found some of the flock refused to finish crossing the path he had set, for they feared the creek they would have to cross. Although the grass was clearly greener and plentiful on the other side they stayed along the bank. Though only feet away, they remained lost in the rival’s territory.

The good shepherd was desperate. He walked along the flock calling them by name and encouraging them to cross. Some looked at him with hope in their eyes that was slowly diminished by their own fears and decision to stay safely along the bank. Others ignored him as they continued to do what they felt was best, eating the mediocre grass and staying a safe distance from the bank in complacency. And then there were those who were farthest from the bank living wildly and hostile towards the good shepherd when he approached. Regardless, none answered him.

He continued to walk through the flock hoping to find one who would brave the creek and enter into his father’s kingdom before darkness fell. Eventually he came across a newborn lamb. It looked up at the good shepherd and bleated in excitement of being alive and seeing this new friendly face. The good shepherd knelt down and as he pat his head he had an idea.

“Would you cross the creek my friend?” He asked the little lamb. The lamb looked up at the good shepherd a moment longer then bowed his head. The good shepherd knew the lamb could not cross on her own, but he could carry her. So he gathered the lamb and gently carried her to the bank of the creek. Quickly the mother of the lamb took notice and began to loudly protest drawing the attention of the others.

The good shepherd turned and reassuringly called “Follow me,” and he continued his journey across the creek into the greener pasture of his father’s kingdom. As the good shepherd gently laid the lamb down he turned to the sound of the mother jumping into the creek and crossing over. He smiled as she reached him and her lamb and rejoiced that she had made it home. As the good shepherd looked up he saw the father quickly crossing as well and behind him several others began to wade in and make their way.

By nightfall the entire flock had safely made it home into his father’s kingdom.

As the flock ran and jumped with joy in excitement for their new home the good shepherd noticed the mother sheep beside her lamb. The good shepherd walked over and sat beside the mother who eyed him curiously as he pat her head. “I am sorry to have had to put you through that. But I know what it is to suffer a great cost for a greater good. I realized that I would have to take one to the other side so the entire flock would follow. I know your separation was painful but I assure you, your little lamb has won a great victory for the kingdom- for now you, your lamb and the entire flock have entered into my father’s glory where there is no more sorrow and no more separation”.

Moral of the Story: Sometimes God will take one to the other side so the entire flock will follow.

 

The Impossible Dream

“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”

Proverbs 16:9

He doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

Thank God, because I am a lot of things but in most endeavors I am not qualified.

And qualifications aside, they never stop us from dreaming. At least I do not believe they should.

I cannot recount the amount of times my dreams, goals or plans were outside the realm of “possible”… well I could but that would require more words than usually associated with blog posts, mine of which already run long.

In all honesty, according to someone’s scale somewhere, I am probably not qualified to write blog posts.

Unfortunately for them, I have always dreamt big. Always wanting to reach a little further than recommended. I can’t give you the exact date, but for as long as I can remember two quotes have continuously shaped me. They are not incredibly profound, at least not at first glance. They are not necessarily compromised of many words. They’re short and simple really.

“We walk by faith, not by sight.” – 2 Corinthians 5:7

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” – Norman V. Peale

Three sentences, twenty words and in my head they might as well be direct orders. With the faith they depict in the God I know, there is simply no additional conversation needed aside from which direction. Point the way, I am all in all the way.

Granted that doesn’t mean I always get my way.

You can ask my father, I have never been exceptionally talented at directions. So it’s no surprise that more often than not I think I’ve got the final destination all figured out – putting it in cruise control, full speed ahead – and then there happens to be a curve I didn’t quite see coming. Or curves. Much like the Appalachian Mountains really.

One of those curves hit this past week. Last Wednesday actually. I must say, God had been preparing me for it, but Lord knows it was still sharper than I had calculated. My heart tensed, momentary confusion and disorientation set in and a crashing reality flashed before my eyes.

And then Jesus took the wheel, He slowed it down and we took a moment to pull over. Because this wasn’t just one of those slight curves. You know the ones on back roads you mildly underestimate but still can manage to glide through with really no incident aside from the two extra heartbeats a minute.

No, this one changed our whole direction, it turned us onto a road I had known existed but wasn’t on my map as the way I had pictured us taking. No, this wasn’t my way at all. And we needed to take a minute, Jesus and I. Mainly because I needed to be still a moment and reassess what absolute truths I knew in contrast to what I no longer knew. Three truths emerged:

  1. God is good and He loves me and He has a plan.
  2. His plans are better than our best. Period.
  3. I still believe and have full faith in all of the above.

Quite frankly, I have a lot of plans. And a lot of different ways to get there. But ultimately it’s not my plan, it’s His. He is the way, the truth and the light.

He is the way.

So we are on a path which I hadn’t planned and which He had prepared. I am still all in, all the way. And I am still reaching further than “possible” allows, because with God anything is possible and I still dream one day to do the impossible.

**Thank You Sam Beasley on Unsplash for Photo