My daughter, Shannon, sent me a link to a story about a ten-year old New Zealand farm-owned merino sheep who managed to evade shearing by hiding out in a cave for six years. By the time Shrek was found, he looked like a wooly giant beach ball with a nose. He could hardly walk with his burden of sixty pounds of wool – enough to make 20 men’s suits.
Another sheep, Chris, was separated from the flock and wandered in the wilderness for five years. By the time hikers spotted him, he was the size of a small car, but looked like a rain cloud on the ground. He could barely move. When sheared, his wool weighed 89 pounds!
Sheila, another lost sheep in the Australian wilderness managed to find a road where she stood immobile on her skinny legs. Her wool burden weighed in at forty-six pounds.
Sheep grow wool. It’s their nature, and that wool just keeps growing and growing. Shearing is essential for good health, but some sheep are stubborn like Shrek and hide. Others like Chris and Sheila refuse to follow or simply wander away from the shepherd and end up in the wilderness. The wool grows. Parasites snuggle in. Debris gets caught. Infection is hidden. The poor animals spend so much time alone, they’re afraid of the one who can remove the weight and set them free.
Sounds like people. It wasn’t an accident Jesus compared us to sheep. We’re prone to wander, hide, and stubbornly go our own way, even when that way puts us in danger that can lead to death. Without God, we are lost. Sin can grow like wool, becoming a burden that weighs us down to death. Sometimes we just sit with that weight on our hearts and souls, too stubborn or too afraid to confess to the Lord who already knows everything about us and still loves us.
Shrek, Chris and Sheila the sheep were all liberated from their burdens. They pranced out of the shearing shed and joined the flock. They could run again.
How about you? Are you willing to put yourself in the hands of The Shepherd who can remove the burden that weighs you down? Trust Jesus. He loved you enough to die for you so that you can experience the full grace of God and live. Take a step of faith and go to Him with the burdens that weigh you down. Let Him set you free.