i am a Shepherd

You might think for a shepherd post, I’d choose to highlight my pastor who is indeed an awesome shepherd of our flock. You might pick your pastor too. Maybe that’s why I didn’t. We often associate the job of the pastor with the identity of a shepherd. In fact, we often confuse our profession with our identity. Randomly ask someone “Who are you?” and the answer might be “I’m an accountant... a teacher... a stay-at-home mom... etc...”

The truth is our identity is not what we do, but who we are. And who we are is what determines what we will do. For example, if we are a shepherd, we will care for our sheep. Not because it is our profession, but because it is how we are made.

In the weeks to come, I will be sharing “people posts,” posts about people who demonstrate a particular biblical identity. And I do believe there will be some surprises, unexpected choices. In fact, every one of the people you will read about was shocked that I asked to write about them. Like Dee Silva. Dee is the front end manager of a local gourmet food store, and my kids’ first boss.

I shop in the Market Basket often. It’s on my way to work, church, and just about everywhere I go. It’s also chock full of excellent produce, meat and specialties. So in high school, when my kids were interested in earning a regular paycheck, it was the first place they applied.

It probably wasn’t the job best suited for my kids. One is a dancer who hated being stationary behind her cash register. The other is superactive and hated being tied to a strict schedule. Yet, from a mom’s point of view, the job was ideal - largely because of their boss.

From Day 1, Dee was and is interested in the youth in her employ. She is compassionate when needed, and she disciplines when appropriate.

My kids haven’t worked there for several years, yet when I ran into Dee a few weeks ago, her first question was, “Today is Lauren’s dance performance, isn’t it?” It was. How did she know??? Facebook. Dee keeps us with her lambs even after they no longer are in her employment. After my son returned from his mission trip this summer, on fire to begin a nonprofit ministry, Dee spent time with him sharing her wisdom about the proper steps he needs to take on his journey.

When my friend asked me if I’d recommend the Market Basket as a suitable place for her daughter’s first job, it was a no-brainer. Dee would be my choice for any first boss.

One dictionary definition of shepherd is: a person who protects, guides, or watches over a person or group of people. I could have picked a mom who nurtures her cubs or a coach who encourages his team, a babysitter or a CEO, a writer or a salesclerk. Perhaps I could have picked you.

After Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to His disciples. While sharing breakfast on the shore, He issued a commission to Peter. After Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love Me?” and Peter responded, “You know I do”, Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”  Peter was given his mission. Later, the apostle Paul stated that he acted as both a caring mother and an encouraging father to the Thessalonian church. Likewise, you and I are exhorted to care for those Jesus loves, the weak, the unfortunate, the new believers.  It is not just the pastor who is the shepherd.  All of us are called upon to shepherd the lambs of Jesus, leading them to safety, protecting them from their enemy, helping them to grow, knowing them by name.

He is the Good Shepherd …
The Shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. John 10:3
I am the Good Shepherd. I know My sheep and My sheep know Me. John 10:14

Who even shepherds the stars!
He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Is 40:26

We are the little shepherds called to care for His people...
Feed My lambs. John 21:15


Maria said...

very nice post.

Cheri Bunch said...

I really love this post, Susan! Beautiful way to honor someone special. Love your analogies. Blessings, Cheri

Jeanette Levellie said...

What a wonderful tribute to a lovely lady. I love this idea of spotlighting shepherds, Susan!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Susan -

I love the focus on we do what we do because of who we are. (Now there's a wild sentence!) Your children's first boss did a wonderful job of illustrating your point. :)


Dee said...

Thank you so much for your kind words. It means so much to me to know that you have taken the time to write such nice things about me. You are right - they are my lambs - all of them. They make my time at the Market Basket so worth while. What even more rewarding is when they come and visit and give me hugs. I love them all!!

quietspirit said...

You made a very good choice when you selected this shepherd. She is so busy running a business and yet chooses to keep up with former employees. I find that amazing.