Devotion and Prayer for Week of April 29, 2012

Meditation for the Week of April 29, 2012

 

“I am the Good Shepherd;  I know my Sheep and my sheep know me.” John 10:14

 

As I write this devotion, I am sitting in the third grade classroom of our parochial school.  I am spending some time observing our student teacher on one of her first days of teaching the class when the regular teacher is out of the room.   As I watched her move around the room it reminded me a bit of a shepherd herding sheep.

She would be at the front of the room and then move to the back row to take an eraser away from a student who was tossing it in the air.  Then she went back to the board to mark a “good mark” for a student who gave a good answer to her question, then it was over to the other side to have a student turn around.  She knew everyone’s name and kept bringing each of them back to be attentive and involved with the subject she was teaching.   Each student knew her and willingly followed her direction.

This is so very similar to how shepherds take care of their sheep.  They do the kind of things that King David did, he leads them to green pastures and beside still waters. Sheep are not the smartest animals. If left alone they would remain in the same field until it was absolutely stripped bare of any grass or vegetation.  Also sheep are easily frightened and so if they were led to a raging river they would be too afraid of the waves to take a drink.  The shepherd has the important duty of making sure that the sheep have green grass to eat and still waters to drink.

As we think about what Jesus said, it is not difficult to picture ourselves as the sheep.  We after all have a sinful nature that when left to our own devices would lead us out into the barren land of sin.  We would find many things in the world that would frighten us and keep us from drinking in the water of life that Jesus provides.  In fact, without Jesus in our lives and leading us as our Lord and Savior, we would be totally and absolutely lost.  But Jesus looks after us just like the Shepherd who cares for the sheep.

We often think only of Jesus in providing for us in terms of our eternal salvation.  And that is truly important, for Jesus through his death on the cross gives us forgiveness of our sins. Then by His resurrection he gives us the promise of eternal life with him.  And those are the greatest gifts we can ever receive; they are not all that Jesus gives us.  He like the shepherd, or like the student teacher takes care of the needs we have in this life.  That is after all why we pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “give us this day our daily bread.” Jesus through many different ways provides all that we need for this life. He leads us to green pastures and still waters. But even more than that; “He restores my soul…He guides me in the paths of righteousness…because He is with me, I will fear no evil…and He comforts me.”  With all that he provides to us, we can say, “ I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Our Weekly Prayer

Most gracious and holy Lord, we are always amazed by all that you do for us.  You have created us in your very own image. Thankfully you continue to provide for us all that we need for daily life. And even more amazing you have provided us everything we need for eternal life.  How can we ever thank you for all your love, care, grace and mercy shown to us?  We are happy to be your sheep and give you thanks for being our Shepherd. Hear our prayer, O Lord.