‘Old School’ lesson exemplifies Christ

Published 12:01 am Friday, April 26, 2019

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

— John 10:9-11

There was a wealthy land investor traveling in Wyoming, deep within the pasturelands of the northern country. He was looking for skilled herders and shepherds who could manage large herds and large amounts of land with large amounts of patience. He was driving up Highway 25, and made a pit stop at a roadside diner outside the town of Kaycee. He ordered some food, not expecting good quality or good conversation. As he waited, a man sitting down the bar from him started some chit-chat. The investor told him he was on the hunt for the next great shepherd. 

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The man sitting down the bar smiled, suggesting he knew a man just right for the job. Intrigued by such a statement, the investor bagged his dinner and the two men hopped into their unnecessarily large trucks. The investor followed his new acquaintance 30 minutes down the road until he could see a large wooden sign made of knotty cypress posts that read, “Bezalel’s Ranch.”

An interesting name, considering Bezalel was one of the Chief Architects of the Tabernacle in Exodus 31. They pulled up to the main lodge, got out of their trucks, and immediately hopped onto two four-wheelers waiting on them. The man from the bar explained to the investor how much land was at stake, how times were tight with money, how they were always short-handed, and that a hard-working, loyal man was hard to find. 

In Wyoming, there are all sorts of predators coming after sheep. Having a fortified holding pen at night was key to the survival of a flock. Forty-five minutes later, the men stopped in front of a very primitive-looking holding pen for sheep. It was square in shape, probably about 20 x 20 feet in all. Three sides were enclosed, while the fourth side had a narrow opening in the middle. The sides were made of cedar posts with four horizontal slats that ran the entire perimeter of the structure. The investor wasn’t impressed — the structure looked like it could collapse with one strong gust of wind! 

“He’ll be here in a few minutes,” the man from the bar said. Moments later, an older man in his late 60s, came walking up from behind. His appearance was simple. He looked like he had worked the land all his life. He introduced himself as “Old-School.”

The man from the diner explained why they were there and how the investor was interested in a skilled shepherd. Old-School explained how he roamed the open pasture lands with his sheep daily. He protected them, found fresh water and the healthiest grass for them. He knew the sheep better than anyone.

The investor was impressed with everything he heard except for one thing: the sheepfold Old-School put his sheep in.

The investor started asking questions: “Aren’t there wild animals out here? Won’t they try to get the sheep? Isn’t it dangerous for them? Couldn’t they get out?”

Old-School answered “yes” to every question. The investor then asked, “So, how in the world are you going to protect them?” Old-School smiled and suddenly laid down on his side, blocking the narrow entrance to the primitive sheepfold and shouted, “I am the door!”

As the month of May is upon us, take time to reflect on what Christ not only has done but continues to do for you. He is determined to guide us through life and pursue us with blessings, whether we see or understand them right away or not.

Christ knows what we’re going through. He’s been tempted more greatly than we could ever imagine (Hebrews 2:18) because He became one of us and is one of us today, yet, without sin.

Not only is He our brother, friend and king, but He is also the Door, the Good Shepherd, the Resurrection and the Life, the True Vine, the Way, Truth, and Life; the Bread of Life, and the Light of the World!

He has invested in us more than anyone else ever would, therefore we are to, “Know that the Lord, He is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” (Psalm 100:3)

Seth Duhs is pastor of New Covenant Presbyterian Church in Natchez.