July 31, 2017

Following

Devotion for the Week...

We love hiking. Most of our summer trips are planned around where we can find good hiking trails and, thankfully, Newfoundland has a lot of them. Last week we went to Fogo Island (a small island off Newfoundland's coast) and spent pretty much our whole time there on beautiful trails with the ocean all around us. It was, in my opinion, a perfect way to spend a few days.

On one of the hikes, we were going up a hill on loose rock. The trail was hard to see at times because it was on the rocks, and we'd have to look ahead to where it went through a patch of grass to make sure we were staying on course. At one point, Aiden was at the front of the line and I was following him, head down, concentrating on where I put my feet so I wouldn't slip. I thought, "I sure hope Aiden can see the trail, because I'm just following him wherever he goes!"

That thought immediately made me think of sheep, and suddenly I had a line from Handel's Messiah stuck in my head: "All we, like sheep." (Go listen a second and then come back. That's exactly what I was hearing!) That line, of course, is taken from the verse, "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6). 

Sheep are hardwired to follow the sheep ahead of them. Mostly, that's a good thing because it keeps the sheep together, not wandering off in a hundred different directions and getting lost. But that's not such a good thing when the lead sheep has lost the path.

We humans are definitely like sheep. We follow trends and fads. We dress like the people around us and generally try not to be so different that we stand out from the crowd. Most of the time, this is not a problem. But what about when the culture around us is trending towards treating others with disrespect? Or when the people around us are always trying to see how much they can get away with without getting caught? Do we start to follow without even really being aware of it?

In John 10:11-18, Jesus called Himself 'the good shepherd,' which says so much about our relationship to Him. The shepherd is the protector of the sheep and, most importantly for this devotion, the sheep know and follow the shepherd. Wherever that shepherd goes, the sheep will follow. Of course, the shepherd doesn't just lead the sheep about willy-nilly. He has a path he's following to take the sheep somewhere, whether it's to good pasture or a safe place to rest or to clean water. Likewise, Jesus has a path He's leading us on and it leads to good places.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Following Aiden on the trail, I couldn't see the path ahead of me, so I had to trust that he could. When it comes to our lives, we often can't see the path ahead either. And since we have much the same basic nature as a sheep, it's likely we'll end up following someone at least some of the time. The question is, are we following Someone who can see the path, or are we just blindly following another sheep who is following another sheep, following another sheep...?



PS. While researching sheep and their tendency to follow, I stumbled upon a fabulous story of sheep invading a Spanish town because their shepherd fell asleep.

1 comment:

  1. Needed this today. Funny story about the sheep. I could not get the video to work, will try later.

    ReplyDelete

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