Thursday, June 07, 2007

The work of a shepherd

There was once a shepherd who was hired to watch over a flock. He started out well, giving the flock everything they needed, but before too long, he grew tired of the flock he was hired to watch. He started putting out food for the goats that wandered on the hills nearby. The sheep he was set over did not like this food, but the shepherd insisted that if they were really good sheep who loved their master they would eat it and be happy about it. The shepherd ignored their declining health on this goat’s diet because he really wanted to make the goats a part of his flock.
Now, what the shepherd didn’t realize is that his master was already working on those goats. This shepherd forgot that he was just hired to work for this specific flock. He thought that he was responsible for all he sheep and goats on the hills around him. The shepherds of other flocks encouraged the shepherd and joined him in his work with the goats. All their work with the goats took them away from the work they were hired to do with their own flocks of sheep.

While they were focused on the goats and other sheep, their own flock started to wander off and the wolves started to get closer and closer. Some sheep went to other shepherds who were still putting out the special sheep food from the master. Some sheep wandered off into the hills and mountains and became wild again, and some lost their way altogether and died. Some were killed and eaten by the wolf. The whole time, their shepherd was looking out, away from his flock, at those goats.
What will the shepherd’s master say to him when he comes back to see how his flock has been managed? What will the master do with the sheep and goats he has brought to this unfaithful shepherd? What will happen to all those poor sheep who were neglected and ignored?

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