The other night, I had difficulties falling asleep. I've never been one to count sheep before, but I was desperate. Nothing else was working. My mind would not turn off. Ever so slowly, the sheep jumping over my imaginary fence began looking like people I happen to know.
"There's my daughters, cantering over the barricade on a horse called Max . There's my Dad arguing with Mom as they jumped together. René jumped over riding a BMW motorcycle." Must have been the hot chili peppers I had for dinner or the conversation about sheeple, with my brother-in law this past weekend. Perhaps a mix of both?
Sheeple, you can not find this word in a dictionary. Spell check does not recognize it as a real word and yet if you Google the word.... it is well known. Sheeple (a portmanteau of sheep and people) is a term of disparagement, in which people are likened to sheep. It is often used to denote persons who voluntarily acquiesce to perceived authority, or suggestion without sufficient research to understand fully the scope of the ramifications involved in that decision, and thus undermine their own human individuality or in other cases give up certain rights. The implication of sheeple is that as a collective, people believe whatever they are told, especially if told so by a perceived authority figure believed to be trustworthy, without processing it or doing adequate research to be sure that it is an accurate representation of the real world around them. The term is generally used in a political and sometimes in a spiritual sense. In other words, sheeple are people that follow blindly and never question their leaders.
We are all sheeple in one form or another, every single one of us follows a person or a philosophy that someone has come up with. You can follow Adolph Hitler or you can follow Gandhi. You can follow a Stoic philosophy or an Epicurean philosophy. You can follow the world’s idea’s or you can follow God’s idea’s. The choice is yours… but make no mistake we are all sheeple.
The Christian faith has it’s sheeple's as well. We are told in Sunday school that Christ is our Shepherd and we are His sheep. Only His sheep will hear him call. Do you realize that even in the Christian faith we have our Stoics and our Epicureans? An Epicurean believes that this life is all we have and that we should enjoy it to the maximum. A Stoic believes that humans should be indifferent to pleasure and pain, should never give way to passion and should devote themselves to seeking the summum bonum – the highest good – which consists of these 4 principles: wisdom, self-control, justice and courage. So who is right?.... and who is wrong? Do we follow the Billy Graham’s of this world or the Todd Bentley’s? God made it easy for us, he wants us to follow him.
God say’s he’s quite disappointed in the leaders or the Shepherd’s of this world. It’s right there in Ezekiel 34. “…How terrible it will be for the shepherds of Israel who feed only themselves! Why don’t the shepherds feed the flock? You eat the milk curds, and you clothe yourselves with the wool. You kill the fat sheep, but you do not feed the flock. You have not made the weak strong. You have not healed the sick or put bandages on those that were hurt. You have not brought back those who strayed away or searched for the lost. But you have ruled the sheep with cruel force. The sheep were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for every wild animal.“ The really great thing is…. God doesn’t just walk away defeated, read further in Ezekiel 34. “… I myself, will search for my sheep and take care of them. As a shepherd takes care of his scattered flock when it is found, I will take care of my sheep. I will save them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries. I will bring them to their own land and pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines, and in all the places where people live in the land. I will feed them in a good pasture, and they will eat grass on the high mountains…. I will feed my flock and lead them to rest, says the Lord God. I will search for the lost. Bring back those that strayed away, put bandages on those that were hurt, and make the weak strong.” He says basically, were not doing a good enough job tending to ourselves, so… He sent Jesus to search for the lost, put bandages on the hurt, taught the weak to be strong. This is what He did for us and still does for us. The only hitch is… we need to trust Him… He will not force Himself upon us. He did not make us robots that follow blindly… He would like us to choose Him.
“The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.”
Jesus is calling us all to lead the sick, weak and lost. Not to be sheeple. He goes on to say…
“So Jesus said again, ‘I tell you the truth, I am the door for the sheep. All the people who came before me were thieves and robbers. The sheep did not listen to them. I am the door, and the person who enters through me will be saved and will be able to come in and go out and find pasture.
He is calling us to go through the door to find freedom.
As we live and grow we all look for truth – we seek mentorship. We follow what seems right at the time. Alexander the Great, Caesar Augustus, Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler. Benito Mussolini and Mao Zedong were all loved and revered by their citizens when they started changing the world for the good of all. Then they became dictators, and they enslaved their people. Christ frees us – Not enslaves us.
1 Peter 2:25
“You were like sheep that wandered away, but now you have come back….”
We were sheep… but no longer. He calls us friend now.
Luke 15: 4-7
“….Suppose one of you has a 100 sheep but loses one of them. Then he will leave the other 99 sheep in the open field and go out and look for the lost sheep until he finds it. And when he finds it, he happily puts it on his shoulder and goes home. He calls to his friends and neighbours and says, ‘Be happy with me because I found my lost sheep.’ In this same way, I tell you there is more joy in heaven over a sinner who changes his heart and life, than over 99 good people who don’t need to change.”
If you are perfect and don’t need to change or seek guidance in your life, well…. Good for you. I know I am not perfect and still have a ways to go. I still have questions… I’ve been laid off since last June and I wonder what’s next? What is my life’s work? What’s the purpose of my life? Where can I find meaning and fulfillment? There’s a place deep down inside everyone of us that cries out for significance and we look out at the lives of our heroes who have made a difference in our world and we secretly want to be among them. That’s why who we chose to follow is so important.
I still have a lot of questions…. and I have not always agreed with everything I have read in the Bible…. or have heard from a fellow Christian. But, God is okay with that… He loves a good discussion and eventually I find the truth.
Jesus calls us to live with a God perspective. He wants us to prioritize like he does, love with respect to his holiness, move and find our being in His purpose. You interact with the world differently when you are aware of God’s presence. To love God is to live thankful, humble, and unwilling to be blown around by the demands of people or expectations. That’s why we need a strong foundation to build our lives on. So when the storms of life come our way… and they will… we won’t be blown away.
“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which sits unmoved forever.”
Accepting Christ in your life doesn’t mean you’re a sheeple. It means, you understand what Christ did for you… It means you’ve come to terms with and accepted the kind of love God has for you – Unconditional. To die for you kind of love..... Oprah doesn’t love you like that.
Ephesians 5:14“…Wake up sleeper! Rise from death, and Christ will shine on you.."