Comment from Ken
Sorry I was late for this walk. Thanksgiving was a busy wonderful day, and I fell behind on my schedule. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and hope that you did as well.
11“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life
for the sheep. 12But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one
who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the
sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13The hireling flees
because he is a hireling and does not care
about the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by
My own. 15As the Father knows Me, even so I
know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16And
other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must
bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.”
I’m not about to walk with you today for we must stay in my new study. This is the first time I have written anything here so draw up the one other chair, and we will visit. No, it is not that I am too lazy to go for a walk, but it is so comfortable here that if you don’t mind, we are going to remain here out of the cold. It is just 36, and it is about three o’clock in the afternoon on Tuesday.
I’m also here in my study for I can look out and see Molly in our yard. I have to watch here even though we now have an invisible fence because I do not trust it completely, nor do I Molly. She is so much fun to watch. She found a red toy out there, and she chases it, throws it in the air and runs off with it. She loves to sit on the back hill that I now call Molly’s hill and survey all around her. One of the people, Amanda, who watches Molly for us if we go out for a length of time, told me that a Bernese Mountain dog was used for herding and tending sheep. That is exactly what she does without the sheep. She sits on the hill and calmly watches all that is going on in our neighborhood. Although I do not completely trust it, I am so happy with the new fence, because she can now run free outdoors.
I am so excited about my new study. There are so many things I wish to accomplish here. There are letters I need to write, people I need to text, and books I need to read. For so many years, I have devoured books so that I could use them in my sermons. The beginning of my ministry saw me using my English Literature background in my preaching. Back years ago, I could remember authors, characters, and plots from my years of reading, and I would use that knowledge as I wrote for Sunday mornings. Now that I have not preached for a year, it seems strange not to have read for a religious purpose. That is going to change for now I can read so that we have something to discuss and learn as we walk each week. As I treasure my books like they are friends, I like to visit them as I have time.
There is a gas fireplace in my office as you can see, and it keeps us warm while I talk with you. With my computer on the windowsill, I can look outside and keep an eye on Molly. I sit here right beside the stove, and it is ever so comfortable.
The contractor who built my new study was Woody Roberts. I love his first name for he works with wood and is a master of his craft. My study is far different from the one I had in Attleboro for that study was Victorian in nature; this new study is more colonial in style. As a matter of fact, the room was planned around a picture of a country store with a little boy gazing up at a sled hanging from the ceiling. I’m actually going to have a counter in my room, and for my birthday, Dale purchased an old fashioned cash register.
Oh, by the way, Molly loves this room when she is inside for the large window is low enough for her to look out and again imagine in here the part of watching and herding sheep. Maybe someday in my shop, I will cut out a wooden sheep for our field. Always hold a dream – something to do tomorrow.
Sheep were important animals to our Lord. He calls us his sheep and tells us that he is our shepherd. There are so many beautiful passages in scripture about shepherds and sheep. Jesus knows his sheep by name; He calls them, and they follow Him. When my brother Milton went to Israel many years ago, he came home and told me that the shepherds of Israel do not drive their sheep – rather, they walk before them.
He is the good shepherd who will lay down His life for the sheep. And our Lord does lay down His life that you and I might know forgiveness and redemption and resurrection.
At night, the shepherd would lie down to sleep at the one doorway into the sheepfold. No wolf or evil person could get by that shepherd to harm his sheep. Is that not a beautiful thought? Our Lord sleeps by the doorway of the room in which we sleep to protect us from any evil person or from any harm. Safely, we human “sheep” sleep in comfort in the knowledge of that loving savior Jesus Christ and his presence at the doorway to our room.
Now that we enter the time of Advent, we will sing of shepherds and sheep. We will read again how the shepherds were abiding by their sheep at night when an angel of the Lord appeared and glory shone around about them. We will recall how the angel told the shepherds that in Bethlehem there had been born a savior which is Christ the Lord. They were also told they would find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. This was not a savior just for the powerful and rich; this was a savior for the humble and ordinary person. For that, we should so mightily praise God.
When we begin our walk or conversation, I never know quite what we will talk about; many times it surprises me. At first, I thought I would talk with you about studying and reading and about my almost completed room, and then we began to talk about sheep. It was my intention to ask you if you thought Jesus had a special place to study? He knew the scriptures so well. He was so aware of His ancient world. Certainly, He had been well educated in His religion by His father and mother and by those who taught in the synagogues. Did He have a special place of study? I believe He did, and I now have a favorite one myself. I’m so pleased you could visit with me today in that new study.
Oh yes, I can look out my large window and see a pine tree decorated with Christmas lights. The season is upon us, and Dale and I so love that season. Those lights on the pine tree were one day late. They could not be lighted on Thanksgiving night, but they were there the night after. Have you started to decorate for the Christmas season? Rejoice for the Lord is come.
Prayer: Oh loving God, help us to be studious in our faith. Keep us familiar with our Holy Bible – bring its teachings to us every day. May we live by Your holy word, be an example of Your life, and be worthy of life everlasting. Amen.
“And now may the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other. Amen.”