Back in "Bible Times", shepherds stood out. And they'd stand out today. They didn't lead their sheep by walking in front. They sure didn't have a Lassie dog to run around and keep the sheep in place. No, shepherding was a lot... smellier.
The shepherds walked in the middle of the flock. Right up in all the muddy wool and discarded droppings. At night, they weren't just locked in a pen and told good night, sleep tight. The shepherd himself would lay down in the opening to keep them from leaving. And who can forget the story of the shepherd who lost one sheep out of a hundred and still went after it?
When thinking about taking care of people, you need to consider your sheep. Not just how to care for them, but what sheep you are the best at taking care of.
My father was a pastor for nearly 5 years before joining the Air Force. Each church we were at didn't fit. The people disliked my father, the people disliked my mother, or the people wanted my parents to do things that weren't in their skill set.
When my father joined the Air Force, he'd found his sheep.
"I have no patience for puttering around from house to house to visit old southern ladies," my dad once said. "But taking care of knuckle-headed airmen juggling DUI's and dumb decisions? That's some sheep crap I can stand wading through."
Since then, he's always urged people to find their sheep. Sometimes it's people who have been in a place you have. Sometimes it's people like you. And sometimes, it's people you never would have guessed.
It's something that should be considered prayerfully, but a topic not often discussed in churches. Just like each person is suited with certain Spiritual Gifts, each person is suited with a certain kind of people to take care of.
So who are your sheep?