The Sheep of My Pasture
Many times in the Bible, God refers to His followers as His sheep. Here are a few examples for you to look up: Ezekiel 34, Jer 23:1, Jer 50:6, Eze 34:11, and all of John chapter 10 but especially John 10:14-16.
In the past, I've found it insulting. I mean have you spent any time at all around sheep? They aren't brilliant. They're no dolphin of the animal kingdom! I was once stuck on a country road, waiting for some poor shepherd to get those wandering herd animals to simply cross an intersection, and it takes forever! The shepherd is out there with a dog or two, and from ground level it seems like chaos; not quite as bad as herding cats, but no picnic either.
I don't know if you've spent any time in a church, but sometimes it seems that among Christians, with their 200+ denominations in the US alone, and with their division even among the tiniest of congregations, it is baffling how this religion ever became worldwide. Even when Jesus started this radical movement, His disciples couldn't agree and bickered about everything. The apostles of the early church disagreed sharply about how to go forward and broke off in various directions, but their doing so spread the movement wider. His flock never were dispersed so badly that the religion went extinct.
This week I saw a video of sheep that made me finally understand one reason why God calls us His flock. You probably saw it float past some news or social media feed, but if not, I'm including it here for you to enjoy. And what it told me about God, I'll explain after the video.
This is mesmerizing! I could watch it over and over and I won't admit how many times that I actually watched it this week. They move very similarly to insect swarms and bird flocks. I never knew that!
I looked at flocks of sheep from ground level before and all I saw was chaos. But this video shows organization, cohesive movement, and it's beautiful!
It was then that God whispered to me, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me." John 10:27 It clicked. This is how His believers, His sheep behave! On the ground, I feel, like Christianity can be so divided, so ineffective even. But if you look at it from His perspective...it's beautiful.
"I will bring them together like sheep in a pen, like a flock in its pasture; the place will throng with people." Micah 2:12
I showed the video to my husband and, being the science nerd that he is, he told me that flocking/swarming behavior like this was a based on Boids Law. I googled Boids Law and learned that a scientist discovered flocking/swarming behavior was based on two rules; avoid colliding with others in the flock, and steer toward the average heading of others in the flock.
I like to get a spiritual lesson out of all my experiences so here's my takeaway: I need to not worry so much about what others in the flock are doing. I don't need to know where the flock is going, we are all following the Shepherd. Disputes, divisions and distractions will happen, but that's not my concern. If I try not to collide with members of my flock and keep in the direction we are all headed towards (Jesus & Heaven), then what looks like chaos, God will direct to His own glory.
What is your takeaway? Leave me a comment and let's learn from each other.