I had one pet growing up. It was a pig. His name was George.
And may I just say, it delighted my father a whole bunch. For my dad, who lived and breathed farming, teaching, FFA (Future Farmers of America), and all things fields and farm animals, he was most definitely in his happy place when he was teaching us about raising pigs. My sister, Julie, had a pig too. I don’t remember his name.
Showing my pig was part of my 4-H experience. (In case you are more city girl than farm girl, “showing my pig” means I would haul it in the back of a truck to a judging competition where I would clean it up, sprinkle it with baby powder (my big was white; Julie’s was brown so she used baby oil on hers), and then use a thick cane to guide it around a ring, showing it off. I still have the purple ribbon I won for “Best Showmanship” from a judging contest on a side street in front of LeMars Photography downtown Crookston, MN back in the day.
But this little note isn’t about pigs. It’s about sheep.
You see, I was always a little jealous of the kids who got to show sheep. Their animals were much calmer than my pet George. They stayed clean. They looked prettier. They were fluffy. George would snort, push dirt around on the ground, do the opposite of what I wanted him to do, use its snout to fight with other pigs, and when doing that get the baby powder flying all over the place.
Sheep don’t really do much. They eat and sleep and wander around the pasture. Then they do it all over again. They depend on their shepherds.
And that’s what I remember when I read Psalm 23. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.”
Sheep depend on the shepherd. They don’t fight whatever or whomever is around them. They just mosey along a different direction if something gets in their way – if they even decide to move. They prefer to just lie down.
So here’s what I’m thinking about …
What could today look like if we remember that we are the sheep – not the Shepherd? What could today look like if we choose to simply let the Shepherd take care of us? What could today look like if we give up control of the things we simply cannot control, and instead rest by quiet streams and still waters?
This beautiful hope-filled verse reminds us that because the Lord is our Shepherd, there is nothing we need. We are not in want. We can rest.
“Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” (Psalm 100:3)
When circumstances get in our way and annoy us, disappoint us, or scare us, we have a choice. We can try our hardest to fix, control, or make others do what we want. Or we can choose to rest. We can let the Shepherd guide us and give us exactly what we need in that moment.
Today we’ll probably need to find our quiet streams and still waters in our homes. And that is possible. Find a corner. A closet. A cozy chair. A bathtub. A step on the back porch. Make some choices that will connect you back to your Shepherd. And meet Him.
He is the Good Shepherd. He will give you just what you need.