How to Shepherd Your Little Lamb

As many mothers do, I used to sing to my children when they were young while I rocked them to sleep. One hymn my daughter loved was, “I have decided to follow Jesus.”

She would sing it all the time. My grandma, my daughter’s great grandma loved it too. She played pat a cake with my daughter, sang and laughed with her. But, after my grandpa passed away, my grandma seemed to develop dementia quite quickly and was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

When we would go to visit her she often didn’t recognize us. But, my daughter would sing this hymn to her and she would light up.  So, when she died; my daughter asked if she could sing it for her funeral. Being so young, I felt it was going to be too difficult for her emotionally. However, she insisted. So, I agreed.

The day of the funeral when it was her turn to get up and sing; she confidently got up and walked to the front of the church. The music began and she did awesome … for the first verse. But, by verse two, her voice started to crack and she couldn’t sing. As she started to tear up, she looked directly at me. Her expression was one of helplessness.

As a mother, your first instinct is to protect your child and help them. So, I immediately sprang into action. I cannot sing, but I went right up to the front of the church and told those in attendance that my daughter wanted them to join her and me in singing the rest of the hymn.

I don’t tell this story to say I did a good thing or even the right thing. But sometimes, our children just need to know we are there. They just need that arm around them. They need that little bit of extra comfort or support. They need us to shepherd them and guide them and guard them.

Often times I have heard children referred to as little lambs. My grandma used to call my children her little lambs.

Did you know that a lamb is what a baby sheep is called during the first year of its life? It seems like such an endearing term … little lamb. But little lambs grow up to be sheep and the Bible has much to say about sheep.

Did you know that a little lamb identifies its’ mother by her bleat? Likewise, the Bible tells us, in John 10:14 (NIV)

“I am the good shepherd: I know my sheep and my sheep know me—”

Just like our children know our voices, and lambs know their mother’s bleats, the Bible says we are sheep and we know our shepherd. He is a good shepherd. Likewise, when we are parenting, we should be good shepherds to our children. We should teach them about Jesus. In order to know his voice, we must be in His word and teach it to our children.

Sheep are vulnerable and they need a shepherd to protect them.  In Matthew 9:36 New International Version (NIV) we are told that,

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Our children are helpless at times. They don’t have the wisdom that we do as their parents. It is our job to shepherd them with compassion as Christ does us. The best way we can equip our children is to teach them about Him.

Sheep are also directionally challenged. They easily wander off course, as we all can. To help our children stay on course, we need to pray with them and teach them about His love for them. It is our privilege and job to keep them on the right course. Teaching them about Jesus and His love for them and His gift of salvation will help them to stay on the right course.

Isaiah 53:6 New International Version (NIV) says,

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

Did you know that sheep can become restless? This is for two reasons … hunger and bugs. If they get hungry they will eat things that are not good for them. Typically, shepherds would put olive oil on their sheep’s heads to keep bugs off of them. Because they are not capable of protecting themselves, they are virtually defenseless. They’re best defense is to stay near the Shepherd.

Likewise, our best defense is to be near our shepherd and teach our little lambs to do the same. When we go out with our little ones we tell them to stay right with mommy. Likewise, I often think Jesus is telling us that as well.

Matthew 10:16 New International Version (NIV)

16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

When we or our children are out of fellowship with God and isolated from other Christians we are extremely vulnerable. Therefore, we must stay close to our shepherd.

Last of all, God values us so much that even if He had all 99 out of 100 sheep and one was lost, He would go look for the lost one. He loves us so much that He made us and we are His.

What an incredible love we can have and share with our little lambs. In Matthew 18:12New International Version (NIV) we are told that,

12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?

And in Psalm 100:3New International Version (NIV)we are told that we,

Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

He whispers to me, I am here.

I have collected every tear.

When the way is dark and oh so gray,

Call on me, little lamb, so you will not stray.

I am here and I’ll light the way.

Sherry Shepherd is an experienced, adaptable professional specialized in writing for faith-based organizations. She has worked as an editor and writer for newspaper, movie guides, publishing houses, churches and several non-profits. Her scope of work includes corporate and fundraising materials, advertising, web, brochures, booklets, books, blogs and biblical training materials. However, her heart is drawn to any type of creative writing, where she can motivate while conveying a biblical message and telling a story. Sherry is the mother of three grown children, who have been the source of some of her greatest joy, laughter and material!