Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What does a Shepherd Do?

When you think about all the occupations available to someone in this world, being a shepherd probably does not top anyone's list. Even so, a casual look at a shepherd's life seems ideal in some respects. How hard can it be right?

Well, every indication suggests that it's one of the hardest jobs out there. Sheep are helpless, stupid and cantankerous all at once. They are much like people in this regard. Even the sharpest people require guidance from time to time. And so it goes with the shepherd. His duties are never ending and the work is hard because his charges are in need of him constantly. Seeing to the needs of the sheep, when done correctly, can even kill the shepherd.

The most important thing a shepherd does is feed and water his sheep. Finding proper pasture and water sources that are in accordance with the size of the flock is never ending. Without grass and water, your sheep will die.

Sheep also have to be groomed and sheared occasionally. They seem unable to do it themselves and so the shepherd will enlist others to help with this. It can be both tedious and profitable as well as stinky. Keeping a sheep clean and odor free is nearly impossible.

Delivering the lambs is another important shepherd duty. Sheep try to be good parents, but sometimes they fail. The shepherd has to help with this.

Sheep need to be lead too. If the shepherd does not lead, his flock will scatter or worse, the goats will take over and the flock will go where they were never intended to go. A shepherd worth his salt, will condition his flock to respond to his voice in obedience. He will lead from behind, admonishing errant sheep to keep them in the fold. 

Occasionally, a sheep will wander off. This is irritating, but the shepherd has to bring back the wanderer. Many sheep have a spirit of adventure. Others manage to get lost unintentionally. Circumstances can deceive.

Sheep also need protection. This can be dangerous for the shepherd. Predators enter the flock by night or slink in by day to help themselves. Lions, wolves and jackals pray upon an unwatched flock, but a good shepherd that keeps watch will perceive the presence of predators and drive them away or even kill them to protect his flock.

If you want to be a shepherd, there will be no holidays. The pay is low and the benefits are nonexistent.

There is only one real reason to do it. You just have to love sheep.