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Poem - A new Kind of Hero

Posted by Lionhearted 
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Poem - A new Kind of Hero
August 23, 2010 02:01AM
A New Kind of Hero

by Max Lucado

I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep as the Father knows me.
~ John 10:14-15

BEHOLD A HERO of the west: the cowboy.

A thousand head of cattle pass behind him. A thousand miles of
trail lie before him. A thousand women would love to hold him. But none do.
None will. He lives to drive cattle, and he drives cattle to live. He is
honest in poker and quick with a gun. Hard riding. Slow talking. His best
friend is his horse, and his strength is his grit.

He needs no one. He is a cowboy. The American hero.

Behold a hero in the Bible: the shepherd.

On the surface he appears similar to the cowboy. He, too, is
rugged. He sleeps where the jackals howl and works where the wolves prowl.
Never off duty. Always alert. Like the cowboy, he makes his roof the stars
and the pasture his home.
But that is where the similarities end.

The shepherd loves his sheep. It's not that the cowboy doesn't
appreciate the cow; it's just that he doesn't know the animal. He doesn't
even want to. Have you ever seen a picture of a cowboy caressing a cow? Have
you ever seen a shepherd caring for a sheep? Why the difference?

Simple. The cowboy leads the cow to slaughter. The shepherd
leads the sheep to be shorn. The cowboy wants the meat of the cow. The
shepherd wants the wool of the sheep. And so they treat the animals
differently.

The cowboy drives the cattle. The shepherd leads the sheep.

A herd has a dozen cowboys. A flock has one shepherd.

The cowboy wrestles, brands, herds, and ropes. The shepherd
leads, guides, feeds, and anoints.

The cowboy knows the name of the trail hands. The shepherd knows
the name of the sheep.

The cowboy whoops and hollers at the cows. The shepherd calls
each sheep by name.

Aren't we glad Christ didn't call himself the Good Cowboy? But
some do perceive God that way. A hard-faced, square-jawed ranch- hand from
heaven who drives his church against its will to places it doesn't want to
go.

But that's a wrong image. Jesus called himself the Good
Shepherd. The Shepherd who knows his sheep by name and lays down his life
for them. The Shepherd who protects, provides, and possesses his sheep. The
Bible is replete with this picture of God.

Eighty percent of Jesus' listeners made their living off of the
land. Many were shepherds. They lived on the mesa with the sheep. No flock
ever grazed without a shepherd, and no shepherd was ever off duty. When
sheep wandered, the shepherd found them. When they fell, he carried them.
When they were hurt, he healed them.

Sheep aren't smart. They tend to wander into running creeks for
water, then their wool grows heavy and they drown. They need a shepherd to
lead them to "calm water" (Ps. 23:2). They have no natural defense-no claws,
no horns, no fangs. They are helpless. Sheep need a shepherd with a "rod and
... walking stick" (Ps. 23:4) to protect them. They have no sense of
direction. They need someone to lead them "on paths that are right" (Ps.
23:3).

So do we. We, too, tend to be swept away by waters we should
have avoided. We have no defense against the evil lion who prowls about
seeking who he might devour. We, too, get lost. "We all have wandered away
like sheep; each of us has gone his own way" (Isa. 53:6).

We need a shepherd. We don't need a cowboy to herd us; we need a
shepherd to care for us and to guide us.

He's not a cowboy, and we aren't cattle. He doesn't brand us,
and we're not on the way to the market. He guides, feeds, and anoints. And
Word has it that he won't quit until we reach the homeland.

From 'A Gentle Thunder' Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1995) Max Lucado

be blessed by this little jewel.
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