1 Peter 2:19-25 (NRSV)
Verse 19For it is a credit to you if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. Verse 20If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, what credit is that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God's approval. Verse 21For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps. Verse 22"He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." Verse 23When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. Verse 24He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. Verse 25For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
I’ve never met a sheep that can endure suffering for the sake of “credit.”
Granted, I’ve never met a sheep . . . period. But I’m guessing the logic is sound. Plus, it’s biblical because in the Bible it’s always first and foremost about the shepherd rather than the sheep.
It’s the shepherd whose rod and staff provide comfort. It’s the shepherd whose voice can gather the sheep. It’s the shepherd who can protect them against wolves and thieves. It’s the shepherd who looks endlessly for one lost sheep. It’s the shepherd who carries the sheep home.
Can you imagine what any of those stories would look like if the roles were reversed? It’s ludicrous. So, remember, you are the sheep, and it is not the will of your shepherd that you suffer. It is the shepherd’s will to suffer so that you may have life. Because the shepherd loves the sheep, and Jesus loves you! So be your Shepherd’s sheep—and listen for your Shepherd’s voice.
Jesus, I don’t give you enough credit for all you do to shepherd me, but you don’t do it for the credit. You do it because you love me. Thank you. Amen.