This is the last in a 4-part series on Sheep, Goats, Wolves and Sheepdogs. Today, we conclude our discussion with Sheepdogs.
Sheepdogs are an aid to the shepherd in keeping the sheep in and keeping the wolves out. The shepherd cannot be everywhere at the same time. Wolves are looking for vulnerable areas, places of weakness. As mentioned, wolves are not looking for a fight, but easy prey. Sheepdogs keep the sheep from being easy prey. While the shepherd is leading the flock (the role of pastors), sheepdogs stay along the perimeters of the fold to keep the sheep in and the wolves out.
What are some of the functions of a sheepdog?
a. Sheepdogs warn and protect the sheep of danger by barking or even a nip on the leg. Sheepdogs must be able to lovingly correct the sheep.
b. Sheepdogs will square off against a wolf to preserve the well-being of the sheepfold. Confrontation is part of their function.
c. Sheepdogs will inform the shepherds of problems and potential problems. Shepherds cannot be everywhere at the same time. Sheepdogs are on more of a peer level with the sheep and consequently see problems in the root stage. Often, pastors don’t see the problem until it has come to fruition, which sometimes is too late to correct.
What are some of the qualities one needs to be a good sheepdog?
a. A consistent prayer life.
b. Spiritual discernment
c. A love for the sheep.
d. Loyalty to the pastors.
e. A disdain for the flesh/carnality.
In summary, sheepdogs are invaluable to the well-being of the flock. They provide the poimaino type of shepherding that is necessary for the fold to grow.
One caution: Sheepdogs are carnivorous, but they don’t eat sheep, they eat meat prepared from the shepherd’s hand. If for some reason a sheepdog gets a taste for the sheep, he must be removed. Church splits often occur through a sheepdog’s disloyalty. It is a shepherd’s responsibility to monitor the activities of the sheepdog. If a sheepdog regularly doesn’t show up to be fed by the shepherd (submission), there’s a good chance that it is dipping into the sheep. However, if properly trained and monitored, a sheepdog is the shepherd’s best friend.