The Good Shepherd

Good gets said all the time. Have a good day. Good luck. Good on you. We even shout it during church: God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.

Then something happens, like a 2-year-old killed by a random out of control car on a leisurely, family walk.  Or a healthy thirty-something mother of three gets cancer. Or a school shooting. Or a tsunami. Or a worldwide pandemic.

How is this good? God, are you good? Cause it doesn't feel like it. 
If you are, why would you let this happen?

Jesus says in John 10:11a:

I am the Good Shepherd

It would be easy to assume everyone's definition is the same. But "good" is subjective—so many variables at play: your past, my now, your expectations, my opinion.

And if Jesus says, he is the good shepherd, which good is he? Mine or yours?

The answer is neither. There is only one standard of good, and it's Jesus. He's on a whole new dimension that we can't possibly fathom this side of heaven.

"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep, and they know me, just as my father knows me, and I know the father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep." - John 10:14

A Good Shepherd doesn't just change the circumstance for the flock; he leads them through it. He is committed. So much so that he would do anything, including lay down his life, for the many.

Rather than asking the question: what is good? shift to: why is Jesus good?

He can be trusted, and he doesn't break promises.  Jesus speaks love with what he says AND does. He is good because he can't not be. And if he is your standard, then you view the world through his eyes rather than your jaded perspective. 

Categorizing what you deem as good is like chasing the wind. You will never completely grasp it. Only through Jesus' work on the cross can you experience the lasting goodness of the shepherd--the one who goes before his flock.

  1. Redefine good. Your perspective on what is good is just that; yours. Ask God to show you the places you are holding too tightly to your own definition and where you need help looking at it from a different angle.
  2. Fix your eyes on the leader. Who is ultimately in charge? I'll give you a hint: it's not the president or any other king on this planet. Remember God is in charge and "God works all things according to the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose." - Romans 8:28
  3. Make something from your wool. Sheep need to be sheared to keep their wool from getting out of control. That wool can be made into something useful. What is one thing you can do today to be useful to another? Maybe it's send a note of encouragement, a text, or a video chat. Maybe you know how to knit...pass it on!

I also recommend these books to dig deeper into the shepherd analogy: 


JL McCarthy

March 9, 2020