Sheep Without a Shepherd

That phrase, “they are like sheep without a shepherd” has been running around in my head and heart for sometime now. And then last weekend, I saw a movie that utilized that very phrase.

Here’s the scene – in it, the character, Lonnie Frisbie is describing “his people”, the hippies as being sheep without a shepherd.

Jesus Revolution

Comparisons have been made before of generations being sheep without a shepherd, and I believe that could be said of these times, too. People today are living and acting like sheep without a shepherd.

See if you can’t see the comparisons between people and sheep and their need for a shepherd. (All of these points are taken from farmers who raise sheep and scientists who study them.)

  • Sheep being unattended endangers their lives – they wander into neighbors property or predators
  • Sheep cannot live without a shepherd
  • The shepherd will protect from predators – sheep run in circles when they’re afraid & have poor defense strategies
  • Sheep aren’t fast or strong enough to fight off attackers
  • Predators cause sheep stress – which reduces their appetite, causing digestion issues & dehydration
  • Fences won’t detect an attacker, but a shepherd will
  • Sheep conceal pain and disease because it shows their enemy weakness, but the shepheard notices the dullness, inactivity or limp
  • When left alone, sheep act as a group in everything that they do – grazing, resting & moving
  • One will lead and the rest will follow – if the leader walks into a predator or falls off a cliff, all will follow
  • Sheep are activated by their herd mentality
  • Without a shepherd, the sheep is not groomed and it’s wool overgrows, leading to fleas and ill health
  • Without a shepherd, sheep can’t find green pasture or fresh water and will settle for brown shrubs and dirty water, leading to disease

I could go on, but the point has been made, sheep left to themselves will follow the herd and not be well cared for. Sheep require more care than goats and cattle who can graze freely, and unconfined. Because sheep rely on the shepherd for nearly everything – food, water, shelter, grooming and defense, shepherding is wearisome and cumbersome. But having a shepherd is the best way to guarantee the sheep’s safety, both individual and for the flock.

The human – sheep motif has been used across the ages in poetry, history and ancient biblical writings. We the people, are like sheep. I have seen it in me, how ’bout you?

Like a sheep, I have:

  • Fallen for the “follow the leader” trap and wound up in deep doo-doo
  • Kicked and run away when I am afraid
  • Been “cast down” (when a sheep gets stuck on their backside and can’t get up by themselves)
  • Needed help when I have been wounded
  • Carried burdens I am not built to carry (I am not a donkey, even tho’ I act like one sometimes)
  • Settled for less (instant satisfaction rather than waiting for the best)

No wonder the Bible calls us, “the sheep of His pasture”. Psalm 100:3 And declares Jesus to be the good shepherd. John 10:11-18

You see, all humans, like sheep need a shepherd, master, manager, leader. Otherwise we are aimless, restless, distressed, fearful, unhealthy, and exposed as open, unprotected prey to the ravenous wolves. Without a good shepherd, we graze in barren fields, drink at filthy pools, find no rest in shaded fields, and are driven by fear, and wreckless, temporary leaders. The herd takes us where the latest trends and fads are, and before you know it we are headed for a cliff. Sheep are not stupid, but they are followers, and do love to hang with the group.

Jesus once looked on a crowd of people like that –

When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

Matthew 9:36 ESV

Jesus saw these poor, lost, defenseless sheep. He saw their value and He saw them being misused and harassed. It was as if they had no shepherd, but in fact, their manager/shepherd was not a good one. Their leader didn’t care for them, mend them, provide rest, food, shelter or TLC for them. Their master was not a good shepherd. So Jesus’ heart was broken and He was filled with compassion for them because they needed a good shepherd, and He was standing right there in front of them.

When I look at the crowds of people today, following the latest trends, listening to the hottest theory or philosophy, running in circles in fear, kicking at what offends them, butting everything they disagree with, I can’t help but see them as sheep without a good shepherd. They may be following a shepherd, but definately not the good shepherd. And no man can follow two masters. It won’t end well.

We all need the Good Shepherd’s leading, care, protection, and provision, don’t we? Why do we sheep settle for less?

King David announced, quite boldly, and proudly,


Psalm 23:1 ESV

I have made that decision too. The Lord, Jesus is MY shepherd. Why would I settle for less? He offers the best care, provision, protection and laces it with His deep love for me, for you. Our shepherd, loves His flock and therefore I have nothing to fear or ever lack.

He has had compassion on me, and I have chosen to follow Him, like the sheep that I am. Now I am no longer a sheep without a shepherd. If you have never asked Jesus to be your shepherd, do it right now. He is right in front of you, listening for the voice of His sheep. If you’ve wandered off or gotten lost, (as sheep so often do), turn back to Him, get back under His care.

I believe this concept is so important for us in these days, that for the next few blogs, we will be looking at the 23rd Psalm – The Lord is my shepherd, psalm. I look forward to having you check back through this series.

Sheep are returning to The Good Shepherd in these days and are no longer wandering unfulfilled as sheep without a shepherd.



  • The Holy Bible
  • Jesus Revolution – 2023

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