Couldn’t David have thought of a better metaphor? Surely he could have. After all, he outran Saul and outgunned Goliath. Why didn’t he choose something other than sheep?

How about:

“The Lord is my commander in chief, and I am his warrior.” There. We like that better. A warrior gets a uniform and a weapon, maybe even a medal.

Or, “The Lord is my inspiration, and I am his singer.” We are in God’s choir; what a flattering assignment.

Or, “The Lord is my king, and I am his ambassador.” Who wouldn’t like to be a spokesperson for God?

Everyone stops when the ambassador speaks. Everyone listens when God’s minstrel sings. Everyone applauds when God’s warrior passes.

But who notices when God’s sheep show up? Who notices when the sheep sing or speak or act? Only one person notices. The shepherd. And that is precisely David’s point.

When David, who was a warrior, minstrel, and ambassador for God, searched for an illustration of God, he remembered his days as a shepherd. He remembered how he lavished attention on the sheep day and night. How he slept with them and watched over them.

And the way he cared for the sheep reminded him of the way God cares for us. David rejoiced to say, “The LORD is my shepherd,” and in so doing he proudly implied, “I am his sheep.”

Still uncomfortable with being considered a sheep? Will you humor me and take a simple quiz? See if you succeed in self-reliance. Raise your hand if any of the following describe you.

You can control your moods. You’re never grumpy or sullen. You can’t relate to Jekyll and Hyde. You’re always upbeat and upright. Does that describe you? No? Well, let’s try another.

You are at peace with everyone. Every relationship as sweet as fudge. Even your old flames speak highly of you. Love all and are loved by all. Is that you? If not, how about this description?

You have no fears. Call you the Teflon toughie. Wall Street plummets—no problem. Heart condition discovered—yawn. World War III starts—what’s for dinner? Does this describe you?

You need no forgiveness. Never made a mistake. As square as a game of checkers. As clean as grandma’s kitchen. Never cheated, never lied, never lied about cheating. Is that you? No?

Let’s evaluate this. You can’t control your moods. A few of your relationships are shaky. You have fears and faults. Hmmm. Do you really want to hang on to your chest of self-reliance? Sounds to me as if you could use a shepherd.


This article excerpted from Traveling Light.

Traveling Light is available on Amazon, as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

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