While I was giving Button a bath the other day, she began drawing in water on the side of the tub (an invisible picture). She said, “Mama, I’m gonna draw Daddy. Here’s his head. Here’s his body. Here’s his two legs. Here’s his two hands. And here’s his candycane…” — at which point she drew a large shepherd’s staff in Niki’s left hand.

I wonder if she actually sees a shepherd’s staff with Niki? When we started this church, he took on a mantle of pastoral leadership in the spiritual realm. Quite literally, he is a shepherd — a shepherd of people. When Jesus says He is the Good Shepherd and His sheep know His voice, “shepherd” means “him to whose care and control others have committed themselves, and whose precepts they follow.” In fact, “pastor” is derived from the Latin word pastorem, which means “shepherd” or “herdsman,” and the base pa-, which means “to tend, keep, pasture, feed, guard.”

When Jesus exhorted Peter to “take care of my sheep” and “feed my sheep,” He made clear that pastors were to shepherd people in the same way Jesus shepherded His disciples. In Jesus’ time, shepherds were to:
– watch for enemies trying to attack the sheep
– defend the sheep from attackers
– heal the wounded and sick sheep
– find and save lost or trapped sheep
– love the sheep and earn their trust.
The metaphor made perfect sense to His disciples — they were to care for people in the same way shepherds cared for sheep.

I know kids can be far more spiritually aware than adults. I think that’s partly why Jesus tells us that unless we turn from our sins and become like little children, we won’t get into Heaven. Children have greater faith and greater humility, so they experience more of the Lord. I would not be surprised if Button actually sees what’s going on in the spiritual realm.