Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Monday, May 17

“When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” — Matthew 9:36

Scattered Sheep

Through modern technology and other factors, many people live alone, dine alone and travel alone. They are loners and don’t see the need for encouragement or companionship. Even though many athletes, coaches and staff develop an independent mindset, we all function better in group settings as we help one another grow.

Imagine a little lamb sneaking away from the herd on a cold, foggy night. He was young and tender but he thought he could ramble without risk. The tiny lamb didn’t know how close he was to danger. As he ran further and further away toward the edge of the mountain, the shepherd realized Little Sam was gone. He rushed to save him.

Reliable shepherds stop sheep from walking off cliffs in the nick of time and pull them out of briar patches. Since sheep are completely helpless, shepherds are required, around the clock, to protect them from wolves, snakes and robbers. In the Bible, sheep are mentioned 750 times and often compared to people. As sheep must have shepherds for survival, we need God for salvation and all things.

In Scripture, God often speaks of Himself as the best shepherd. “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I Myself will search for My sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after My sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness” (Ezekiel 34:11-12).

When Jesus came to earth, He kindly gathered a flock of people for their benefit and eternal salvation. “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). Since Jesus is the ultimate shepherd, He laid down His life to rescue us from the wolf called the devil. Therefore, Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).

— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Ga.

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