Summary: EASTER 4, YEAR C - If Christ is the Good Shepherd, then we are the Sheep of His pasture. If we are the sheep, then why arn’t we following the good shepherd?
“To Baaa or Not to Baaa?”
The Lord is my shepherd - I shall not want
he makes me to lie down in green pastures
he leads me beside still waters
he restoreth my soul...
What comforting words these are. Comforting that is if we truly hear what God is saying. Joyce Hollyday tells the story of how as a child she memorized the 23rd Psalm. She states, “There was always one point of confusion for me as a child. In my recitations, I ran the lines of the first verse of the psalm together: "The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want." I always wondered why I shouldn’t want this shepherd, especially since he was supposed to be taking such good care of me. In other words what she read was, The Lord is my shepherd, NOT! Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd, My Sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me." You know, I really want Jesus to be my shepherd because I am told that when I am lost he will look for me, that when I am in danger that his rod and his staff will comfort me. I want Jesus to be my shepherd because he promises his sheep eternal life , because he promises that they shall never perish. "No - one will snatch them out of my hand, "For what my Father has given me is greater than all else and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand." As the 23rd Psalm puts it, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
I reckon that all of you here today want the same thing. You want a God to watch over you to protect you, to bless you, to seek you out when you go astray. A God to comfort you when you hurt, to heal you when you are ill, to walk with you when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death. A God to bring you into paradise when you die. I want, you want, I think we all want this. Jesus is the good shepherd. Almost every one of us here today believes that. Almost everyone of us here today believes that he is the shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep. I know I believe that and I believe that most of you believe it too. But the question remains my friends. Do we truly hear what God is saying? Let us take a moment to look again at Psalm 23 as if for the first time. The Lord is my shepherd...Shepherd. He is the shepherd, so that would make us the sheep. My dad raises sheep in Vermont. Sheep are dumb. They make a mess every where they go, polluting their drinking water and trampling their grazing fields. They go where they shouldn’t go. They get into things they should stay away from. And when they get in to trouble, oh, and
they will get into trouble, They begin to blat their heads off, crying out for someone to come and rescue them. “blaaaa, blaaaa....” It is we who are the sheep, Ya, that sounds about right. As Isaiah the prophet put it, “All we like sheep have gone astray and He has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” Our iniquity has been laid upon Jesus who is the good shepherd, that’s some shepherd.
The psalm then goes on to say, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” I shall not want? I don’t know about you, but I want all the time. We live in a society that relies on us wanting. We want a new this. We want to get that. We want, want, want. When I first became a Christian as a young man I had a bumper sticker that read, “I’d rather have Jesus then silver or gold.” Easy to say when you’re young, single, healthy, and not thinking about retirement. Could any of us today say, “Oh, take it all away! I’ve got Jesus,
What more could I possibly need?” Is Psalm 23 getting a little harder to say now? God can hear us all now, “Baaa, Baaaa. Get me out of this. This is getting too hard. Baaa, Baaaa.” But the psalm goes on, “ The Lord is my shepherd - I shall not want, he makes me to lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters, he restoreth my soul...” Now that’s more like it! To lie down in green pastures. To be lead by still waters. To have our souls restored. Ya, that’s what we want! But not today God. There’s so much work to be done. There’s soccer practice and music lessons to take the kids to. There are church fund raisers to man. If it isn’t this, then it’s that. So much to do and so little time to do it in. Ya Lord, I want to have my soul restored, but could we by chance do this another time? It really isn’t a convenient time right now.