Daily Devotional

May 11, 2017

Misplaced Sheep

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. – Matthew 9:36

Looking out our kitchen window one afternoon, I was startled to see two big woolly sheep nibbling grass along the drainage ditch. On our country road, I knew of two neighbors who kept sheep, but never had I seen any of them wandering onto our property. Concerned, I began trying to locate their owners. Meanwhile, the sheep nonchalantly moved into our side yard to continue grazing!

Following a tip from a man who lived farther up the road, I approached one of our newer neighbors, who had come to the United States from another country. Knowing that his English was limited, I simply asked him, “Do you have some sheep?” He looked a bit puzzled before he replied, “Yes, we have sheep.” The tone of his voice asked, “What about them?”

Now, I could have continued, “Do you see them anywhere around here?” Instead, I told him, “Well, there are two of them in our yard.” His reaction was nothing short of comical. His eyes grew wide as he repeated incredulously, “In your yard?” He shook his head, explaining that the sheep usually stayed close by. I noticed, however, that there was no gate to prevent them from venturing farther.

Together we walked toward the location where I had last seen the straying animals. We had not gone far before they came to meet us, headed for home.

Although this owner seemed unaware that his sheep were missing, we know that our Heavenly Father keeps a much closer eye on those who ought to be safe within His fold. How deeply it must grieve His loving heart to see mankind, His prize creation, wandering in the wilderness of sin, in places where they were never meant to go!

Like the two sheep I discovered contentedly munching in the wrong yard, many people appear to be unconcerned about their lost condition. They may not even realize that they are surrounded by “wolves,” a whole array of temptations gnawing at their souls and dragging them piece by piece toward a lost eternity.

While it takes God’s Spirit to reveal their need to them, His ransomed ones can have a part by moving His hand through prayer. What a wondrous thing it is that God has ordained that His redeemed should stand between Himself and fallen mankind, pleading their case!

He longs to extend mercy to any soul who will whole-heartedly turn to Him. May we be willing to spend time crying out to God on their behalf. Then, when God opens the door, let us be brave enough to speak the words of life that everyone needs to hear.