Wednesday, July 24, 2013

LEADERSHIP: Characteristics of Sheep

In the Bible there is much mention of livestock but sheep are used particularly to describe the people of God. The people were very familiar with sheep and their behavior which is probably one reason God uses them to describe us and why Jesus refers to us as sheep throughout the Gospels. Another reason would be because it is so accurate.

I've been reading the Old Testament again and a little bit ago I ran across some interesting information about sheep that cracked me up when I made the comparison of the behavior of the Israelites to sheep. It literally made me laugh out loud. I share this, if for no other reason, to give you a little chuckle, but as a professional educator I try to find out as much about my students as possible. The better I know my students, the better a teacher I can be. As a shepherd, the better you know your sheep, the better a shepherd you can be. We all, like sheep, have gone astray... (Isaiah 53)


  • need the most hands-on care of all livestock.
  • are gregarious animals. They are better kept in numbers as they are social.
  • have a strong sense of flocking which is primarily about fear of predators.
  • are passive and have little means of self-defense. 
  • become nervous and difficult to handle when feeling stress.
  • are gullible and often follow the crowd.
  • are creatures of habit. 
  • frequently look for easy places to rest.
  • don't like to be sheared or cleaned. 
  • are vulnerable to mob psychology and stampede easily.
  • are vulnerable to fear.  
  • are competitive and compete for dominance. 
  • have little discernment in choosing good food and water. 
  • are stubborn and insist on getting their own way. They will even eat poisonous plants and dirty water.
  • need a shepherd to lead them or they wander off and get lost.
  • trust their shepherd as their most calming influence.
  • need "rod and staff" guidance. They are not just used for protection but for guidance of wayward sheep. 
When I look at myself and my life in comparison to this list I can easily see why satan, the ever prowling wolf, so easily manipulates me and I can proudly sing, "I am Jesus' little lamb!"


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