Many of you have had a pet dog or a pet cat, but what about a pet chicken, bird, rabbit, duck or fish? Well, I have had all those things and more, but I want to tell you a story about our pet lamb! I had the wonderful experience of growing up on a large 1,200 acre farm with dogs, sheep and cows. My father grew wheat and had hundreds of sheep. We milked the cows and loved our two special dogs, Chum and Mitzie. They were sheep dogs that helped care for the sheep when my father directed them to do so. He did this by loud whistles or short commands which they had learned to understand. By this means, my father was able to round up the sheep and take them from one field to another, through gates, into small pens, up ramps or wherever he needed them to go. Our dogs were very obedient, like children ought to be to their moms and dads!
Every year the mother sheep, called ewes, would have new lambs. If the weather turned cold too soon and there were a lot of unexpected rains just after the baby lambs were born, many lambs would die. My mother would go out into the cold and collect some of the lambs, bringing them into the kitchen beside the wood stove in an attempt to keep them warm, dry and alive. She carefully cared for them, but most would die. This was very sad to us, but we knew that death came about because of sin and it would not always be this way.
We left the farm when I was almost six years of age. We never lived on a farm that size again, but when I was about ten, my father, now a minister of the Gospel, brought home Little Lamb for us children to raise. My two brothers, one sister and I fed our lamb until it was so fat and round that it could not get up or walk. Our mother told us it would probably die because lambs do not know when to stop eating and we overfed it. Happily, our pet lamb did not die. It had to learn some healthful eating habits that helped it live!
One day, when the lamb was not quite fully grown, our family of six prepared to head to church in our car. Dad started the car and slowly pulled away from the curb. Bump! Oh, what was that? Dad stopped the car and out we clambered one after another. Our pet lamb had unwittingly found a warm place to rest in front of the back wheel. He was injured badly. As you would have guessed, we were all very upset.
Our Little Lamb had damaged its hip and could not walk. My mother carefully took him inside the house to the living room where Dad made a frame with a sling where he could hang with his feet just touching the floor. Mother and we children cared for Little Lamb for weeks until he could walk once again. Little Lamb always had a lump and a limp, but he was very special because we had saved his life. He loved us and we loved him.
In the Bible, Jesus describes Himself as the True Shepherd. A shepherd is a person who looks after sheep. Do you know that we are referred to as sheep? Well, we are! In Isaiah 53:6 it says, “All we like sheep have gone astray.” But Jesus says of them who have gone astray, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them.” John 10:27. When we hear His voice we will follow Him. Do you know that He cares for us even more than my mother cared for our lambs? Though we often go astray as lambs do, sometimes by mistake and sometimes because we want to, when we see what Jesus has done for us on the cross we want Him in our heart and mind; we want to love Him too! Jesus will be so happy that we want Him for our Best Friend to make sure our life is filled with happiness, joy and peace—both here and forevermore. Pray and ask Jesus today, to be your Shepherd.