The Gentle Shepherd

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me[following Me as My disciple], for I am GENTLE and HUMBLE in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29 Amplified Bible)

How many of you have ever heard of Hermit Sheep? I learned about them from my husband as he shared his Sunday morning message with our fellowship group a few years back. Tony’s message was on the different kinds of sheep in the world and he tied it with our different relationships with Christ. The one that stayed with me until this day is the Hermit Sheep. Instead of telling you about them, I would like to share a story about a famous Hermit Sheep, named Shrek; I found on

Meet Shrek the sheep; he became famous a little while back for hiding out in caves by himself for six years. Because of his isolation, his fleece was never shorn. It grew and grew; by the time he was finally shaved, the amount of fleece that fell away from his body weighed sixty pounds. Most sheep have a fleece weighing under ten pounds; sometimes it’s more, but never by much.


For six years, Shrek carried six times the regular weight of his fleece… all because he was away from his shepherd. This is reminiscent of John 10 when Jesus compares Himself to a shepherd, and His followers are His sheep. If you think about it, Shrek the sheep is much like a person who knows Jesus Christ but has wandered. If we avoid Christ’s constant refining and healing our souls (through fellowship with Him and sharing our hearts with Him), we’re going to accumulate the extra weight of this world (problems, sin, flesh) —a weight we don’t have to bear.

Christ can easily lift the burdens we bear, if only we stop hiding from Him. He can shave off our “fleece,” that is, our flesh-imposed burdens brought about by wandering from our Good Shepherd and following the ways of the flesh and the world.


This article touched me deeply because I used to be Shrek, but you couldn’t tell with the naked eye. I did all of the religious things we were supposed to do, praying, memorizing scriptures, going to church, and using my gifts to serve others, however, I served the Lord with external performances. You see, I was hiding from Him in caves of my activities, work, family, friends, television, and church. I wouldn’t trust Him with my whole heart and soul by sharing my struggles, fears, sins, or failures with Him because of fear of being punished. I know we see the Hermit sheep around us, the obvious ones. Those who used to go to church, pray, fellowship with us, but now are out in the world trying to have a good time in sin and taking care of themselves in the strength of the flesh rather than in Christ. In I Corinthians 3:1, Paul calls these sheep, ‘carnal, babes, fleshly, or worldly-minded.’ They gave their hearts to Christ and are born-again, but they got distracted by the world, flesh, sin, and the evil one. Looking at these two groups of believers, which one is really lost; the last one or the first one? Both, but the dangerous thing is the first one like me is hiding in the flesh and in the religious garb of externals. The Hermit sheep have been hiding so long, he doesn’t realize how his soul has turned from the one who loves him most. But, our Gentle Shepherd sees Him and knows exactly what it will take to cause him to turn back into His arms of His rest and grace. Like the story of Shrek, someone came and found him, he didn’t even know how to return to his shepherd!

It is so easy to get distracted and to fix our eyes on our problems or resolve our own issues without Christ. Jesus called out to me in my cave of darkness and anguish many times. When I first heard His voice, I was scared and wouldn’t respond. But when I felt His gentle touch as He reached out for me, then I knew, He was not going to punish or hurt me; He just wanted to heal and restore me.

How many of our brothers and sisters are hiding from their Gentle Shepherd? Religion has painted a picture of how angry He is and when He sees us we will be punished. What a big lie! In all of my stinking stuff, even as a Christian, my Lord NEVER REJECTED me but brought me to His bosom to shear me and to restore my soul.


My heart goes out to all of my brothers and sisters living lives like Hermit Sheep. Jesus Christ, your gentle and humble shepherd lives within you. He is calling out to you! He is praying for you! He promised never to leave you or forsake you and He hasn’t… and never will. His heart hurts with yours and He wants to carry those heavy burdens you are carrying and carry you in His arms forever… if you would just let Him! Please let Him.



  1. I would like permission to use the picture of the little lamb in the arms of the Savior. The picture is from your webpage.

    I want to use this picture in a notebook of encouraging Bible Verses that I give personally to dementia patients in my area. I got the idea when my mother got dementia. As her time went on, she lost more and more eyesight and she couldn’t concentrate long enough to read long passages but she loved reading the Bible and the verses were such an encouragement for her. I made a notebook of her favorite Bible Verses and picked pictures to go with the verses and she was able to look at the pictures and read the short verses. She really loved this notebook. Now I would like to produce some more for other people I know with dementia.

    I am attaching the picture I would like permission for and the page as it looks in the book.

    Thank you for your time and response.
    Connie Viekman

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