Sir Walter Scott and his wife were enjoying a stroll around the grounds at their home and passed by some lambs in a field playfully enjoying the spring day. Scott remarked, “It’s no wonder that poets from the earliest of times have made lambs the symbols of peace and innocence.”
His wife agreed that lambs are special, yet with something quite different in mind. She said, “Delightful creatures indeed, especially with mint sauce.”
You get a strange mix of the metaphor in the Bible because sheep are people, but the greatest enemies of sheep are also people. When the Psalmist writes, “You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies,” the enemies are people. When Jesus warns about those who would steal, kill, and destroy the sheep; the thieves are people. When Paul told the shepherds of the church in Ephesus to protect the flock of God from the savage wolves, the wolves were people.
Shepherds that protect you, fellow sheep that fellowship with you, and enemies who would destroy you can all look very much alike. So Jesus offers one more warning in metaphor: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Be as innocent as sheep, but be shrewd, too. It is likely that someone is thinking about you with mint sauce. Know the difference between those who will protect you and those who would destroy you spiritually. That’s Life at Work!