The Good Shepherd knows his sheep, and also their enemies. He must be skilled at all of the work of caring for the sheep, but if he does not provide protection from enemies all his work is in vain.
A skilled shepherd will know as much as he can about the ways of the enemies of the sheep. Thieves and wild animals were rampant. A shepherd would be on guard day and night to be ready to fight off anything or anyone who might seek to devour his sheep.
The contrast between the thief and the shepherd is striking. Jesus speaks of it in John 10. The thief comes to kill, and steal, and destroy. The shepherd comes for LIFE. Abundant life is the goal of the shepherd. It makes following the shepherd easier to do during our daily lives. When we consider our daily activities a simple question to ask ourselves can be, “Does this activity promote Life, or does it hurt or harm my neighbor or myself?” Those things that support or celebrate life are valuable while those that hinder life should be avoided. Consider your daily routine. What things support or celebrate life, and what things are you involved in that drag you down or get in the way of living? Follow your Good Shepherd for life!
Dear Jesus, Help me to follow you for Life! Amen.