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By Kathy Rock. Photos by Kathy Rock and Skyler Cumbia.

I never thought Christians being compared to sheep very flattering. I think of them as dumb, unable to care for themselves, always needing to travel in a group, and not very clean.

On a recent trip to the Middle East I had an experience that changed my point of view.

sheep

photo by Kathy Rock

calloutDuring our first evening our translator explained that often several shepherds would combine their flocks at night so they could take turns keeping watch. Being a city girl, I asked the obvious question – how do the shepherds separate their sheep in the morning? Are sheep marked with a brand like cattle or do the shepherds just count off the correct number? He explained that each shepherd makes a unique sound in his throat and his sheep recognize their master’s voice and follow him. That’s very biblical, right?

shepherd's flock

photo by Kathy Rock

While traveling to a nomad’s desert site the next morning we stopped while a shepherd and his flock crossed the road. Using my best Arabic hand signs, I asked the shepherd if I could take pictures of him and his sheep. He agreed. As I snapped away, a car door slammed behind me and the sheep encircled their shepherd for protection. But while I continued to take photos, the sheep began to spread out again, away from their shepherd.

It was then that I heard it! At first I didn’t know from where this low cooing sound came, but the sheep knew. They came back to where the shepherd stood; they knew their shepherd’s voice.

camp

photo by Skyler Cumbia

For me the Bible came to life that day: “His sheep follow him because they know his voice.”  John 10:4, NIV

So, do I still think sheep are dumb, dirty, and need someone to take care of them? Honestly? Sure I do. Do I still think it is unflattering, as a Christian, to be compared to a sheep? Not at all. How fortunate I am to be a dumb, dirty sheep in our Lord’s flock! How blessed am I that my Shepherd knows my name, and I know His voice!

Lord,
Thank you for being my Shepherd, a Shepherd who willingly
gave His life for me, His poor, dumb sheep.

In the fullness of my life, when my ears are filled with the harsh sounds
of the world, help me listen for Your voice. Help me hear Your words,
for I know that when You speak life changes. I know that You are truly
the Shepherd who “supplies my needs.”
Amen.

Editor’s note: Debbie Boykin, Skyler Cumbia, Rod Haithcock, and Kathy Rock visited the Middle East in September 2012. They provided medical clinics to open doors for relationships with Bedouins. To participate in a similar trip contact Debbie Boykin.


Kathy RockKathy Rock and her husband, Bill, have four sons and five grandchildren. Kathy is an Exceptional Education Teacher at J. R. Tucker High School. She is a deacon and enjoys working with the Youth II Sunday School Department, leading the Music Makers choir for FBC’s first and second graders, singing in the Church Choir, and playing handbells with the FirstRingers.

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