Mark 6:34, “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So He began teaching them many things.”
My brother’s first job when he left school was as an assistant shepherd on the East Cheshire hills. His ‘crook’ was not a nicely shaped staff with a curving loop at the end as you see in the pictures, but a broom handle with a horn from a ram (or a ‘tup’ as we say in the north 😊) taped onto the end. It looked rough but it was to hook round lamb’s necks when then wandered off or got into trouble and pull them back.
Many times I have felt the uncomfortable tug of the Shepherd’s crook, guiding me back to Him. How? By not letting me be satisfied with anything less than Him; by nudging me and turning my thoughts back to Him again and again (“Leave me alone, I don’t want to bother with all that just now”, I have heard myself say!); by trying to distract myself by (for example) finishing a whole series of novels and still ending up deeply dissatisfied. Until finally, the Shepherd nudged me back to Him and I realised just how desperately hungry I was. Like the crowd waiting for Him, Jesus is there with the compassion to meet our deepest need – which is for Himself.
Lockdown is the consequence of a dangerous pandemic, but it can also have a positive side effect, giving us the space to respond to the Shepherd’s call.
IDEA: Think back and ask yourself whether you have heard or felt the Shepherd’s call pulling you back or closer to Him? What have you tried to do to distract yourself?  Has it worked or are you still hungry? What would it mean for us to run TO the Shepherd like the crowd did in Mark 6, rather than AWAY from Him today?
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I want to come home. I run no further in the wrong direction. Instead, I turn and run to You, knowing that You will meet me with the compassion to fill my deepest need. “Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” because they remind me You are there (Psalm 23:4). Feed me, lead me and satisfy me with your love. Amen

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