The images and insights still haunt me.
I spent a year with shepherds and beekeepers and farmers and vintners and asked, “How do you read the Scripture—not as theologians—but in light of what you do every day?”
Their answers changed the way I read the Bible forever.
Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).
Spending time with Lynne, a shepherdess, revealed Jesus’ words weren’t just imagery or metaphor, but a daily reality for any good shepherd.
I’ll never forget the first time Lynne led me to her upper field. We slid through a narrow gate with sheep dotting the landscape like fluffy cotton balls.
Then she started whispering.
“Why are we whispering?” I asked.
“Because at the sound of my voice, they will all come running,” she said. “Just watch.”
“Sheep, sheep, sheep,” she called.
Every sheep bolted toward her.
Later that evening, the sun dipped below the fiery horizon, leaving a faint glow of rose and tangerine in the sky. Lynne and I sat in the field with the sheep.
At one point, the smallest lamb, Swan, who had watched us all day, dared to break from her mother and head toward Lynne.
The shepherdess extended her hand palm, wiggled her fingers, and spoke the lamb’s name. Swan hesitated and then came forward to experience the gentle touch of her shepherd’s hand for the first time.
Lynne withdrew her hand. Swan stepped forward, wanting more. With a swift one-armed move, the shepherd grabbed the lamb and held her. Swan melted into Lynne’s arms, enjoying the one-on-one moment with her shepherd.
“Once they respond to my beckoning, I have them forever,” she said as Swan rested her tiny head in the palm of Lynne’s hand.
Lynne sounded a lot like Someone I’d been reading about.
“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:28-29)
My hope and prayer for you today is that you will remember that you have a Good Shepherd who is leading you, guiding you, and calling you by name. His arms are wide open to you today—and forever.