The Great Shepherd of The Sheep

Last week I had the tremendous joy of re-visiting our church in Mersin, which we helped to plant during our years of service in Turkey. It was a privilege for me to see brothers and sisters faithfully walking with our Lord Jesus and maturing in their faith. The highlight of my visit was meeting a brother whom I baptized 15 years ago, and he is now serving as a church pastor. 

As I approached the outskirts of Mersin on the bus from lovely Cappadocia, I saw a shepherd with his sheep walking among the grapevines and fields. It was a beautiful picture of the Lord Jesus’ promise to us that He is the “great Shepherd of the sheep” (Hebrews 13:20 NKJV), and that He will take care of His church. But it was also a harsh reminder to me that there are still so many people who are “weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36 NKJV).

As I looked around me, I noticed so many people looking very tired; tired of stressful and busy lifestyles, and even tired of life itself. People are facing depression, disappointment, and discouragement. Many are aimlessly wandering around looking helpless and hopeless. Real life challenges never end, even for us who are Jesus’ followers.

At this very moment, I am trying to deal with the loss of my brother and a dear friend, and also with a church sister facing mental break-down. When we see people suffering, our natural response is often to ignore or avoid them all together. Matthew told us, “But when He (Jesus) saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them…”  (Matthew 9:36 NKJV). Jesus’ heart was breaking for people whose lives were broken.

So, dear friends, let us show love towards others by paying attention to their needs, listening to them and praying for those that God sends into our lives today. Let us care for others around us just like a good shepherd who cares for his sheep.

Stephan Smithdorff
Missionary serving with OM in Japan