You can tell a good shepherd—or a good cattleman—just by looking at the condition of his animals. If they’re quiet, contented, relaxed, and in good shape, then they are well-fed and well-managed; conversely, if they’re thin, sick, restless, or bawling or bleating around the clock, then it’s fairly safe to say that whoever owns them is either ignorant, lazy, or uncaring. I’d even go so far as to say: the better the rancher, the happier his livestock—with the exception of weaning time, of course.
According to Psalm 23 and many other scriptures, Jesus is a good Shepherd. He’s the leader, protector, provider, defender, comforter, and healer of His sheep. He came, lived, loved, and died for us to have abundant life, peace, and joy.
But the Shepherd never forces any sheep into His flock; they have the right to choose Him as their shepherd or not. And He never turns any sheep away from His flock, no matter what shape they’re in. In fact, most of us that come to Him are dirty, ragged, weary from trying to save ourselves, injured from falls we’ve taken and traps we’ve fallen into, and desperately hungry for His undeserved grace and unconditional love. And so we may not be the most beautiful, purebred, and flawless of sheep, but because we’ve been forgiven much, we love much! (Luke 7:47)
“The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.” --PSALM 23:1-3