Words of Worth

Flock Drama

July 1, 2011

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…”
These are very familiar words for those of us who grew up “in the church”. This summer, I’ve been looking a bit more closely at these verses, straining to see past the known and receive a fresh perspective on what it might look like to really view the Lord as a Shepherd and myself as His sheep. But since it is summer, my schedule looks a little different and I have found my study time often sandwiched between picking up or dropping off someone at a summer camp and afternoons spent at the local swimming pool.

Ah…the pool! The epitome of a lazy summer day. The kids all happily splashing about and the moms keeping an eye on them from under the umbrella. But one day recently, there was a problem. It seemed that a group of kids who were old enough to be at the pool unattended began bullying “our” group of kids. We knew something was up when one of our girls came walking toward us, as her mom noted, “with purpose”. She had a story to tell and it was not a pretty one. There had been verbal taunts and mean teasing and now there were tears in the eyes of the child that was offended.

Since the offenders were there without parental supervision, we were in a bit of a quandary as to what to do. One of the moms worked through the issue with our group of kids and we decided if it happened again, we would consult with the supervisors. Within minutes, two of our girls came striding back toward us “with purpose” and with more stories. Enough. We elected a mom to be the peace negotiator and off she went to the pool manager with a very insightful question. “If we are experiencing a problem with bullying and the kids in question are here without guardians, would you rather we tell you than handle it ourselves?” Of course they would and of course they did. After a civilized discussion between both parties and some consequences for the wrongdoing, the rest of the day passed without incident.

But we wondered…would those kids have misbehaved like that if their parents had been at the pool with them?

While studying the twenty-third psalm, I’ve gleaned a few interesting facts from the lives of current day shepherds. For example, I learned that sheep, like people, have unique characteristics and personalities. I now know that boundaries are essential for the sheep’s survival and there’s a lot of “flock drama”. The shepherd restores order and ends the fighting.

The pool drama and the flock drama have at least one thing in common. Out of the presence of the parents and the shepherd there is more likely to be conflict. This caused me to wonder about our own behavior – would we be so quick with a critical comment or a spiteful attitude in the Presence of our Shepherd? If we felt His lingering gaze or the gentle pressure of His hand on our shoulder, would we be more compelled to behave?

I think so… and I think I will spend the rest of my summer (and hopefully the rest of my days) staying close to My Shepherd.

“and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:24-25

Looking for more words? Read Psalm 23 and meditate on staying near the Shepherd. (CT)

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