Sheep and the most Important Word

My family says I’m sheep-obsessed.

I’ve always been a sheep girl.  I love the image of God as our shepherd in the Bible – patiently, gently taking care of us clumsy, clueless, grace-dependent, but usually well-meaning lumpy messes.

My family gives me a hard time because I’ve been known to chase sheep on several continents trying to get a good picture of, say “British sheep” as opposed to “Guatemalan sheep”.  Last week outside Bethlehem I got this picture of what I called “Christmas sheep”.

Although the land is all built up with Israeli settlements, as I looked over the hills surrounding Bethlehem, it was easy to picture THE real shepherds two thousand years ago on Christmas eve in the quiet night, looking up at the same stars that blanket us today.

It made me think of a sermon I heard years ago on the Twenty-third Psalm.  It really stuck with me, which is the mark of a good sermon, isn’t it?

Actually it was only on the first 5 words of the Psalm.  The speaker, Max Lucado challenged listeners to choose which one of these words was their favorite…which was most important to them.

The (not “Some”, not “A”, not “one of many” )

Lord (The word used here is a verb – ACTIVE!  The same word for Lord used with Moses – I AM)

is (present tense, not just “was” or “will be”)

my (personal!! not just “David’s” or “Paul’s” or “Billy Graham’s”)

shepherd (present, caring, and responsible for sheep 24/7.  Sheep are totally dependent)

So, this morning, jet-lagged and just home from a long, intense trip, I’m thankful for a Shepherd-God who gently carries me.

What’s the most important word for you?

Which word would you choose as your favorite today?

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