"I am the Good Shepherd." John 10:11
In Victoria lives a woman whose main work is shepherding. Raising sheep, she said, "has full-time aspects." When lambs are due to be born, the owner must be there. Sometimes as many as ten lambs are born at Christmas time, cutting down on her holiday season.
In biblical times, women were involved in sheep care. We read that the daughters of a man named Reuel, in the land of Midian, led the flocks to water, with the shepherds sometimes bothering them. One day they were assisted by a refugee from Egypt, and this led to the marriage of Zipporah, one of the daughters, to the benefactor, Moses (see Exodus 2:11-21).
While shepherds were watching their sheep, as at the birth of Jesus, we can well imagine that their wives were giving loving, tender care to ailing sheep and lambs at home.
Jesus is the Great Shepherd of the sheep. In John chapter 10 He stresses in what sense He is the ultimate care-taking Shepherd: "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep" (John 10:11). He adds that He has the power to do this and to take up His life again with His resurrection. Before ascending into heaven, He appointed under-shepherds, the apostles, who in turn trained successors to nourish Christ's flock with the Word of God. Through the centuries pious men were called and ordained by congregations to continue the work.
Faithful women have been active in the flock, serving their Lord by teaching and befriending especially the young in church, school, and home. They walk in the footsteps of pious women who followed Jesus, ministered to His needs, and shared the Gospel with others. They were the last to leave the cross on Good Friday and the first at the empty tomb on Easter.
Christ's richest blessings rest on women today who serve as shepherdesses among His people.
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord God, for the services of dedicated women in Your church today. Amen.