Just today while I was driving out to Soby Ranch, I came across a hawk sitting upon a telephone wire while waiting at a traffic light. He was watching his surroundings very intently, looking for his lunch. Now I love birds. Outside of dogs, they are probably my favorite animals. I happen to have parrots of various species and love the birds at Soby. I shed quite a few tears when Wrangler the therapy rooster died this fall.
Well this hawk got me thinking. This hawk was very much like our enemy, the devil. I mean, like most predators, he was studying his surroundings, looking for the weak, injured, elderly, or alone to pick off for his lunch. There was a flock of birds flying nearby. They were some form of sparrow, most likely house sparrows. The hawk watched, looking for one that could be easily separated and caught. He wasn't lucky today, at least while I waited for that light.
As soon as I got to Soby I was greeted at the gate by my dear buddy Lou. For those of you that may not know, Lou is the resident Great Pyrenees that runs Soby. I love Lou and maybe even just a tad more today than usual. You see, Great Pyrenees were bred to be Shepherds. They know every member of their flock and do everything in their power to keep them safe. Lou knows each of his sheep...and goats, and horses, and chickens. You get my drift. He roams the Ranch greeting visitors and strangers and keeping guard of his charges.
I've seen Lou in action. While there I saw several birds of pray circling over the ranch. Lou left them be while they stayed high in the air but no sooner than they got too close for comfort than Lou sprang into action. He ran. He barked. He snapped at them with his teeth. They left. His charges, mostly chicks, and a few other birds, were safe. But he is a diligent Shepherd. And he loves his job. I've seen him at work numerous times and he is magnificent to watch. Someday he'll tire, then he'll retire and a new Pyrenees will take his place. But there is a Shepard who will never retire. That Shepard is Jesus the Good Shepard. In John 10:4-5 Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep".
We are closing in on the time of year when Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd. And the first people on this earth to see him (other than his earthly mom and dad) were shepherds. Kind of neat, huh? So my thought for you this week is this: are you Lou, or are you the Hawk? Do you seek to protect and defend the weak or prey on them? These weak could be defined as those cut off from the congregation, or those down on their luck. They could be the widow, or the kid whose dad took off. They could be the disabled girl who uses a wheelchair and lives with caregivers or the elderly man who misses his wife. And they could be those outside of the church. They actually need help the most. It is my prayer that you are more like Lou. But even more importantly, it is my prayer that you belong to the Good Shepherd Himself, that you hear His voice. He laid down His life for you! If you don't know Him, talk to John or Joy today. You'll be glad you did.