Every year as I read my way through my daily Bible, I arrive in the book of John and read the passage about Jesus, The Good Shepherd. Each time I read John 10 my heart and mind goes to a story I once heard about sheep. It overwhelms my heart every year.
Today I want to share it with you.
John 10:4b-5 He goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.
John 10:9-11 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
John 10:14-16 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”
I remember the story of how every once in a while a ewe gives birth to a lamb and for some reason rejects the baby. It could be because the mother is old and just too tired to deal with the baby or perhaps she doesn’t have enough milk for twin lambs and she rejects one.
Sheep herders call those lambs, bummer lambs.
Unless the shepherd intervenes, that lamb will die. (Okay, get out the Kleenex. I’ll wait.)
So this is the amazing part of the story which fills my heart. The shepherd takes the lamb into his home. Feeds it one-on-one with a bottle and keeps it warm. He will wrap it up and hold it close so that the lamb is on his chest next to his heart. the lamb hears the shepherd’s heartbeat.
When the lamb is strong the shepherd will place it back in the field with the rest of the flock. The little lambs now can stay with the heard and they thrive.
Now this is the part of the story that gets me every time. When the shepherd goes out to check on his herd, the most amazing thing happens. He will call out to his sheep, “Sheep, sheep, sheep.” Do you know what happens?
The FIRST to run to him are the bummer lambs because they know him. They know his voice. (Waaaaa, where’s the Kleenex.)
It’s not that they are more loved — it’s just that they believe it.
My SUMites, I am a bummer lamb and so are you.
We are NOT orphans. We are not rejected, lost and unloved. Jesus loves his bummer lambs.
Let’s actually dare to believe it.
This story about the bummer lamb is adapted from Sheila Walsh. Thanks Sheila and Ann Voskamp!