the great escape or a bad case of follow the leader….

… Men for the most part follow in the footsteps and imitate
the actions of others…”

Niccolò Machiavelli

(a working sheep farm near Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

I caught an interesting story day before yesterday…
interesting but also a bit sad.

Seems there was a herd of sheep, on a farm located somewhere in the
Pyrenees Mountains along the border of France and Spain,
who were apparently being stalked or chased by a bear.
All 200 plus sheep leapt to their deaths off the face of a cliff as they were
desperate to escape the bear.

So rather than scattering…with some of their numbers dashing off in one direction,
while others dashed off to a different direction…
with chances being pretty good that 199 or so should survive,
they all opted to jump to a joint death.

And it seems this odd phenomena is nothing new as it’s been known to happen
to other herds.

here’s the link…

So this mob mentality of herd animals and their reaction to panic and hysteria
obviously got me thinking….

See this picture….

(a working sheep farm near Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

It’s the picture of a sheep farmer with his sheep dogs and his herd of sheep.

Notice how the farmer has his hand out alerting the dogs to stay.
Notice one of the sheep looking back over his shoulder at the dog,
a bit hesitant and nervous, as if he’s anticipating what the dog is about to do.

As soon as the farmer gives the word or signal or both,
the dog will go about his task, herding the sheep…
keeping them all together while working them into the direction he wants them to go.

And the sheep who are afraid and nervous, despite the fact that their numbers
and physical size exceeds that of the dog, place themselves at the mercy of
the guidance of the dog.

They say sheep aren’t the brightest animals on the planet.

And yet we the faithful are often referred to as sheep…
as we are reminded of our similarity to sheep throughout much of the Bible…
With us being the proverbial sheep of his pasture while Jesus is in position
of the Good Shepherd.

We are reminded that when 99 sheep out of a flock of 100 are present
and accounted for—with one errant sheep being lost and left behind
as expendable…
Jesus will go out and seek that one errant sheep until all sheep in the
fold are present—not willing to allow even one to be lost to some sort of
collateral damage.

And like sheep, we have the same tendency to go running about all willy nilly
as if being chased by some sort of threatening bear…
even if there isn’t any real physical threat–
perceived threats are counted as equally as powerful in our own little
world of pandemonium.

So perhaps it would behoove the herd to remember the voice of the Shepherd
lest we continue heading toward the cliff…of our own demise…

So Jesus again said to them,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the door.
If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep,
sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees,
and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.
He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd.
I know my own and my own know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I lay down my life for the sheep.
And I have other sheep that are not of this fold.
I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice.
So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

John 10:7-16

18 comments on “the great escape or a bad case of follow the leader….

  1. Citizen Tom says:

    Hard to figure what He wants with us. Sheep are smelly and stupid, nothing desirable except what can be sheared off or eaten. Yet while we had yet to repent He gave His life for us.

    • Now Tom, sheep are sweet and cute…when my aunt and I visited Ireland two years ago–I was fanatical—screaming STOP THE VAN every other minute as I wanted to jump out and take pictures—driving our friend and tour guide nuts!
      I have a deep affinity for sheep—I use to say that if I ever went missing…look for me in either Assisi as I was helping the Poor Clares tend their olives trees or I’d been in Ireland, herding sheep 🙂
      it must go back to the beautiful Book of Common Prayer of which I was raised–“Almighty and most merciful Father, we have erred and strayed from Your ways like lost sheep….”

  2. says:

    I love how Jesus compares us to sheep, because we are lost without him. We are smelly, stupid and undesirable. We often need to be broken by him to return to him. There are countless comparisons. Thanks for this one, Julie.

  3. Lynda says:

    And no matter how foolish we are nor how far we stray, our Shepherd awaits our return and is always looking for us on the horizon as the Father in the parable of the prodigal son. If only, we would always remember the love of God for each of God’s creations, including ourselves. Blessings on your day!

  4. […] via the great escape or a bad case of follow the leader…. — cookiecrumbstoliveby […]

  5. Amen! A couple of sayings I love about sheep, “sheep don’t strive!” They really don’t,they just munch on the grass and trust the Shepherd. We people are always striving, running to and fro and trying to get things done.

    The other one I like is, “keep your eyes on the Shepherd and not on the sheep.” Wise words,since sheep are often to be found trying to run off a cliff.

    I recently got to watch some sheep dogs herding sheep,so your post was fun to read. My husband has issues with some sheep, they refuse to listen to him. A few times he has had to get out of his truck and pick the sheep up and move them. “We shall not be moved…” It turns out that sheep really do know the Shepherd’s voice and will often completely ignore all others.

  6. Wally Fry says:

    I can’t speak for any other, but I am sure glad He comes looking for the wandering sheep.

    I did an experiment once, back when I waited tables. I stood in the kitchen door with a tray in my hands, and as people walked in, I would thrust in in their hands and simply demand, “Take that and put it over there.” Amazed me that, without fail, they would instantly obey. People are indeed sheep, and when they follow the wrong leadership, they get in big trouble.

  7. I’ve always loved sheep and the fact that the Lord is our shepherd and we His sheep, silly, stupid, and stinky as we may be. But then all of Creation is sacred and holy regardless of such things. 🙂 ❤

  8. From what I have read from ancient literature, mostly the Bible and the Greeks, the human being, though unbelievably vast in potential, defaults at highly stupid.

    I think Jesus was being kind referring to us as the sheep of his flock.

  9. Melissa Presser, Lover of Jesus says:

    Love this!

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