As I turned off one rural road and onto another, I almost missed him standing there on the opposite side of the road near the woods. He stood motionless. I stopped my car in the middle of the road and watched him. Was it a statue? After a few seconds his head moved and he looked around briefly.
What was a sheep doing here?
I wasn’t quite sure how to handle the situation. I contemplated pulling off the road and going to the sheep, but what would I do once I got to him? How would he respond if I even attempted to approach him?
This was my first lost sheep experience and I was clueless as to what to do. A lost dog is totally different. A lost dog could possibly be coaxed into the backseat of my Toyota Corolla, but how could I possibly coax a large woolly sheep into the back of my car? And, what would my husband think if I arrived home from the grocery store with a sheep in the backseat of my car?
I was still thinking about this encounter as I went for my run later this afternoon. I ran along that same stretch of highway where, a few hours earlier, a lost sheep was standing alone on the side of the road. Part of me was hoping I would come across the sheep again. I wanted a do-over.
Three words came to mind as I ran along.
Feed my sheep.
My encounter today convicted me about all the times the Lord has placed lost sheep on my path and I have thought, how could I possibly help? How could I make a difference?
How many times have I convinced myself that there was nothing I could do?
How many times have I worried about how the other person might react?
How many times have I made up excuses or worried about what other people would think if I did help?
How many times have I just driven home and not tried to help the lost sheep?
I then thought about John 21 where Jesus asks Peter three times if he loved him. It was after Peter (afraid for his own life) denied he even knew his Savior.
After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.”
Eileen, do you love me?
Then feed my sheep.