LESSONS FROM GRANDDAD and HIS SHEEP – “DESIRING a FLOCK”
By: Nelson Kidder
As I have shared with you in previous blogs, my Grandfather Kidder was a farmer, and a shepherd of Merino sheep. “Granddad” kept a flock of about 40 to 50 ewes and one buck sheep on his farm near Cadiz, Ohio. I have many wonderful memories of spending time each summer with my grandparents on that farm - and learning from Granddad and his sheep!
One thing that is very obvious from watching sheep is that sheep desire to be in a flock – to be a part of the group or their community. Sheep do not want to be alone, or by themselves. If you watch a flock of sheep in a pasture, you will notice how closely they graze to one another. There may be acres and acres in the field, but all the sheep will be grazing within a small area – together. Other farm animals are not like this. Cows and horses will often roam away from the others while grazing, seemingly with little concern about “where” the others are. But not sheep! They desire to be in close association with other sheep.
I believe that God created sheep to be a fitting example of several things that He wants His people to imitate; and this desire to be a part of the group, the flock, is certainly one of these examples. Note Psalm 100: 3 – “Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” From observing my Granddad’s sheep, I know that the sheep that was lost in Jesus’ parable in Luke 15: 4 did not want to be separated from the flock. This sheep would have panicked when it realized that it was not with the rest of that flock! This sheep was probably careless; but would not have knowingly left the flock.
Granddad used to tell a joke about a young city girl who came to teach at a one-room school in the country. Little “Johnny” was having problems with his addition and subtraction. So the teacher thought she would use farm terms that might help Johnny relate. She asked Johnny, “If 20 sheep were in a pen, and 19 jumped out, how many sheep would be left in the pen?” Johnny said, “None!” The teacher said, “Johnny, you just don’t know your math!” And Johnny replied, “No teacher; you just don’t know sheep!” How true! If 19 sheep jumped out, the 20th sheep would also jump out; or die trying! It would not remain alone!
But what about us? God calls us to be “the sheep of His pasture.” God calls us to be members of one body (1 Cor. 12: 12ff). Although a body has many different parts, with different abilities and functions, they all form “one body, so also is Christ.” If you are a member of the body of Christ here at Versailles, do you see yourself as a sheep of God’s pasture, and a part of a flock? If you do, you should desire to be with other sheep in the flock. Sheep desire the fellowship of other sheep, and so should all Christians. No sheep would ever think, “I just want to be alone!” And neither would any healthy Christian. I desire to be a real part of the flock here at Versailles, and I hope you do too!