John 10:11-15; Psalm 23
Do you know what a shepherd is? A shepherd is someone who takes care of sheep. A good shepherd loves the mommy and daddy sheep and every one of the little lambs too. He watches over them all through the bright, sunny days. He takes good care of them all through the cold, dark nights.
A good shepherd counts his sheep carefully to make sure all of them are staying right with him. One, two, three … Yes, they are all there! He knows that if one of the sheep wanders away it will be frightened. He doesn’t want his sheep ever to be afraid.
When it is time for his sheep to eat, a good shepherd looks all around to find the best eating places where the grass is green and tall. He leads them by the cool streams where they can take a good, long drink of fresh water. He knows that sheep get thirsty too.
If his sheep get scratched on some thorns, a good shepherd takes care of all the sore places. He feels so sorry when one of his sheep gets hurt, and he always knows just how to make it feel better.
Sheep sometimes get tired, and then they need to lie down and take a rest. A good shepherd knows that, so he finds a safe place for them to sleep.
A good shepherd loves to watch his sheep. He laughs when the little lambs jump and play in the wildflowers. He knows the name of each one. He speaks to them gently, and all of his sheep know his voice. They come when he calls, because they love their good shepherd.
Sometimes there may be danger near, but the sheep are not afraid because their good shepherd is always watching. He makes sure that no big, hungry animal comes near his sheep. They are always safe when they are in the shepherd’s care.
Did you know that we are like sheep? And we have a good Shepherd too – the very best Shepherd of all. The Bible tells us that our good Shepherd is Jesus. He takes care of us just the way a good shepherd takes care of his sheep.
Jesus watches over us day and night. He doesn’t want us to be afraid of anything, so He stays close beside us. He makes sure that we have food to eat and everything else that we need. He promises to be with us always and keep us from danger.
Why does Jesus do all these things for us? For the same reason that a good shepherd watches over his sheep. He does it because He wants us to be safe and happy.
Remember that sheep know and love their good shepherd. Do you know Jesus? Do you love Him? He loves you.
This week, read any information you can locate about shepherds—both present-day and those of ancient times. Discuss with your child what responsibilities a shepherd has, and what a good shepherd would be like.
If you have a pet at home, compare the care of a shepherd for his sheep to the care your child gives to his pet. Beyond supplying physical necessities, what else should the owner of a pet provide? Does he think a shepherd would also provide this?
Explain the shepherd’s concern for his sheep by talking about how a child feels when his pet is hurt or lost.