Once there were two shepherds who had pastures next to each other. On one side of the fence, the shepherd had a large flock, but he didn’t care for it. The grass in the pasture was dry and brown. Without a shepherd’s guidance, the sheep all wandered in the same paths every day. They wore the grass away along those paths until all their paths were dirt. When it rained, the dirt became an icky mud that stuck on the sheep’s fleece and hooves. They slipped and fell often.
On the other side of the fence, the Shepherd tended his small flock carefully. He kept his pasture green by watering it. He rotated the flock to different parts of the pasture so they did not eat all the grass to the roots. When he moved the sheep, he did not let the walk in the same place, but made sure they walked the narrow paths. When it rained, his paths remained grassy and mud-free. His sheep never fell.
Sometimes one of the Shepherd’s sheep would look at the sheep in the other pasture. Sometimes the Shepherd’s sheep were jealous. The other sheep looked like they had more fun. They could go wherever they wanted. They could eat whatever grass they wanted. They didn’t have to listen to any shepherd.
Any time one of the Shepherd’s sheep ran into the other pasture, they discovered that the paths were all broad and muddy. The nasty grass on the other side of the fence never tasted as good as the Shepherd’s grass. When the Shepherd rescued them and returned them to his pasture, the sheep found out that they were content following the Shepherd’s paths. His paths were always good.
Questions to think about:
- Read Psalm 23 and Matthew 7:13-14 by yourself or with your parents. What do these passages mean?
- If sheep are allowed to walk in the same place over and over again, they will wear a dusty rut into the ground. A good shepherd keeps sheep from doing this. How does our Shepherd prevent us from following the rut of the world and follow his right paths?