The tools of the shepherd are a rod and a staff. They cover a range of uses that provide insight into the role of the Shepherd in the life of a sheep. They strengthen our understanding of our needs as people following our dear Savior.
The most commonly seen tool is the staff, or the Shepherd’s Crook. This long wooden stick with a curved top has many uses. Shepherds use the staff to herd sheep, knock fruit off of off high branches, or rescue sheep from difficult to reach places. It’s a tool for provision. Providing guidance, food and safety is a shepherd’s vital role. Luther reminds us how God does the same for us: “He richly and daily provides all that I need for this body and life.”
The rod is a smaller wooden stick, often with a rounded head that looks like a club. This tool can be thrown or held and is used for defense. It is a weapon. It is never used on the sheep, but on the enemies of the sheep. Wolves and thieves will scatter when the shepherd wields the rod in defense of his flock. That tool reminds us of how strong God fights for His people. Jesus says, “Nothing can snatch them from my hand.” This is because of the rod.
Together, the rod and the staff provide comfort to the sheep because they are used by the skilled shepherd to provide for many of the basic needs of the sheep. In the face of danger the rod and staff bring safety and peace.
Dear Jesus, you give me comfort in the face of challenging times. Thank You! Amen.