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Black Sheep

            "Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb, its fleece was white as snow." With a name like Mary, I have had songs, rhymes and verses quoted to me my whole life. Like other typical nursery rhymes this one sounds idyllic: The little lamb merrily trotting along down the lane after his owner. And people have bought into that picture. I grew up on a farm, I should know. Often I have been asked hopefully "do you raise sheep?" Are you kidding me? No! We have some goats. Goats take care of themselves and the rest of their herd. Sheep, on the other hand, are just barely smarter than the average rock. They are in constant need of tending and attention, because they cannot take care of themselves let alone other sheep.
 
            Funny thing is, we are compared to sheep in the Bible, which really isn't funny at all. It isn't funny that we are boneheaded and stubborn; that we wonder off on our own and get terribly lost, that we are defenseless against the wolves of this world. In a way I would much rather have been likened to a goat. But all is not lost.
There is also a good shepherd: Christ. He cares for us, guides us, and lays his life down for us.  He even speaks to us.
 
            I have been meditating on John 10:27 this last weekend. Christ says" My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." In the ministry of sex-trafficking it is imparitive that each teammate be completely in-tune with the voice of Christ. We must continually ask God for guidance and protection. I am just learning to listen to the voice of Christ, and it is hard. I have difficulty distinguishing  his voice from the thoughts in my own head. I struggle with understanding if I shouldn't do something, or if it is just fears that are crippling me. My team leader gave me a helpful analogy. She said that listening to God is like talking to someone on the phone. At first you have to ask who it is and get used to their voice. Later on when they call, you recognize them instantly, because you have learned what their voice sounds like. That is the way it is with Christ. At first I may not have the ability to distinguish his words from my own thoughts. I trust that in time, as I practice listening and obeying, I will be able to sense his leading.
           
Perhaps the only difference in the Bible between the sheep and the goats are their realization for their need of a shepherd. Perhaps it isn't so bad to be a lamb, if that means being tended by the good shepherd. Just maybe I am willing to admit that. Maybe. 

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