John 10:14 (NLT) “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me,”
Isaiah 40:11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms,
holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.
Luke 12:32 (NLT) So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.
On our farm, we have bottle fed a vast number of critters including deer, skunks, raccoons, squirrels, coatimundi, a wild hog piglet, goats, and cows, just to name a few. The first lamb that I bottle fed was a sweet little American Blackbelly that I named Juliette. I don’t know if you are familiar with this breed or not, but I think they may have a genetic makeup similar to that of a wild deer. They are able to run fast and jump extremely high. They dance around with great joy, and that little girl, Juliette, danced all over me while I tried to teach her to take a bottle. I had little hoof prints in various shades of color from deep purple to pale green covering both of my legs. She danced and danced as I struggled with trying to get her to take the bottle. I think it took almost two weeks before she was really good at it…taking the bottle that is, not dancing on my legs for she was inherently great at dancing! After a while, all I had to do was walk into her line of vision, and she ran to me to get to the bottle. We developed a very special bond, and she knew that I loved her. I was her human, and she was my lamb.
Sheep are an interesting breed, and they are quite peculiar at times. Most ewes are great mothers, but every once in a great while, a ewe will decide to not take its lamb for whatever reason. They call this little rejected lamb a bummer lamb. The lamb will even look rejected, his head will hang low, and he appears distraught and alone. The mama ewe may kick the lamb away, and she will refuse to let him nurse. If that baby lamb doesn’t get some much needed nourishment, she will soon perish. That is when the shepherd comes to the rescue. The shepherd watches his flocks closely, and when he recognizes a bummer lamb in the flock, he will gently pick the lamb up and take it to safety. He will adopt the lamb. He may even bring that little lamb into his house. (I’m guilty of keeping the bottle babies in my home many times in the past.) The shepherd will gently warm the baby, hold the lamb next to his heart so that he can hear the heartbeat of the one who is trying to rescue him, and then the shepherd will provide much needed nourishment for the lamb as he bottle feeds him and cares for his every need. Once the little lamb is strong enough, the shepherd will re-introduce him into the flock.
When the lamb is now in the midst of the flock, he never forgets what the shepherd did for him. When the shepherd checks on the flock, that little rescued lamb will run full speed ahead to get ahead of the rest of the flock so that he can greet the shepherd. Why does he run happily to the shepherd? Because he knows that once he was a rejected lamb, but now he has become a chosen sheep. The shepherd chose to adopt him, care for him, and love him. He recognizes the voice of the shepherd, and he runs to him. He knows the shepherd’s voice. He grew up knowing that this person cared enough about him to rescue him. The shepherd loves all of his sheep, and he would do the same for any little rejected lamb. He didn’t love this lamb more, but this little lamb sure loves the shepherd. Why? Because he knows the shepherd intimately. He spend time in his arms. He heard the heartbeat of the shepherd. He felt unconditional love of his adopted human parent.
We could learn a lot from a little bummer lamb. We may sometimes feel like we have been rejected by the world. It may feel like we’ve been given a pretty crummy deal. We may feel alone, lost, and in great need of rescue, but there is no reason to fret because this is where the good Shepherd comes in. He is watching and waiting for us. He knows that we have been rejected, and He devised a great plan to provide rescue. He is ready to gently pick us up and carry us, holding us close to His heart. He wants to adopt us into His family. He wants to make us heirs to His throne. He loves each and everyone of us so much so that He sent His Son as the perfect, unblemished lamb of God, to be the ultimate sacrifice on the cross so that each of us could be rescued.
When the Shepherd speaks, do you recognize His voice? When He calls your name, do you run to Him? Do you know Him intimately? Do you remember the warmth of His touch, the feeling of complete safety as He held you gently in His arms? Do you know the Great Shepherd? Oh, Peeps, if you don’t, you have to get to know Him today! He will not reject you. No matter how far you’ve strayed from the flock, no matter how rejected, alone, lonely or defeated you feel, He is waiting and watching. He is ready to rescue you! Won’t you be a little bummer lamb today and let the Great Shepherd scoop you, hold you close to His heart, and provide the ultimate rescue for your life? It feels mighty good to be a bummer lamb rescued by the Great Shepherd!