By Jason Kofoed
The theme and purpose of our website is directed towards "sheeple", or sheep who knowingly or unknowingly follow the wrong shepherds. However, to follow is GOOD if you follow the right shepherd: Jesus Christ.
I was reading a current issue of a magazine published by my church and came across the following experience shared by Elder D. Todd Christofferson, who is currently an apostle in our Church. The article talks about the importance of recognizing the voice of the "Good" Shepherd and realizing that we are free to follow after Him or to stay behind. The source can be found HERE and is as follows:
My aunt, Adena Nell Gourley, told of an experience from many years ago with her father—my grandfather, Helge V. Swenson, now deceased—that illustrates what I mean. She related:
Last week my daughter and I were visiting in my parents’ home. Along about sundown my mother asked if we would like to step out on the back porch and watch Father call his sheep to come into the shelter for the night. Father . . . is a stake patriarch, and you’ll understand and forgive me when I say he is the personification of all that is good and gentle and true in a man of God.
About a block and a half away from the edge of the back lawn, five . . . sheep were quietly grazing on the stubble of last summer’s wheat field. Father walked to the edge of the field and called, “Come on.” Immediately, without even stopping to bite off the mouthful of food they were reaching for, all five heads turned in his direction, and then they broke into a run until they had reached his side and received his pat on each head.
My little daughter said, “Oh, Grandmother, how did Grandfather get them to do that?”
My mother answered, “The sheep know his voice, and they love him.” Now I must confess that there were five sheep in the field, and five heads went up when he called, but only four ran to Father. Farthest away, clear over on the edge of the field, looking straight toward Father, stood [a] large [ewe]. Father called to her, “Come on.” She made a motion as if to start but didn’t come. Then Father started across the field calling to her, “Come on. You’re untied.” The other four sheep trailed behind him at his heels. Then Mother explained to us that some few weeks before this, an acquaintance of theirs had brought the [ewe] and had given it to Father with the explanation that he no longer wanted it in his own herd. The man had said it was wild and wayward and was always leading his other sheep through the fences and causing so much trouble that he wanted to get rid of it. Father gladly accepted the sheep, and for the next few days he staked it in the field so it wouldn’t go away. Then he patiently taught it to love him and the other sheep. Then, as it felt more secure in its new home, Father left a short rope around its neck but didn’t stake it down.
As Mother explained this to us, Father and his sheep had almost reached the [straggler] at the edge of the field, and through the stillness we heard him call again, “Come on. You aren’t tied down any more. You are free.”
I felt the tears sting my eyes as I saw [the sheep] give a lurch and reach Father’s side. Then, with his loving hand on her head, he and all the members of his little flock turned and walked back toward us again.
I thought how some of us, who are all God’s sheep, are bound and unfree because of our sins in the world. Standing there on the back porch, I silently thanked my Heavenly Father that there are true under-shepherds and teachers who are patient and kind and willingly teach us of love and obedience and offer us security and freedom within the flock so that, though we may be far from the shelter, we’ll recognize the Master’s voice when He calls, “Come on. Now you’re free.” [Adena Nell Swenson Gourley, I Walked a Flowered Path (unpublished manuscript, 1995), 199–200]
Is it any wonder why The Savior is known as "The Good Shepherd" and we are likened unto "sheep"? Most people are sheep...of that we can be sure...but who is their shepherd? Is it society? The media? Propaganda? Materialism? Fear? Popularity at all costs? We should all seek after His voice. Learn it, know it and have the faith and courage to understand that we are indeed free, then, go and do as He asks. This we must learn to do without hesitation.