Tending the Flock
There once was a man named Abraham who was chosen to be leader of a great race of beings. God spoke to him directly, and on a regular basis, to inform him of His needs and goals. Abraham was a simple man, a Shepherd by trade, given to flights of fancy periodically, so as to amuse himself while tending the flock. Life was mostly easy and only became difficult when Abraham let his mind drift to matters unrelated to his primary tasks.
One day, while tending the flock, Abraham noticed a wolf off in the distance. It seemed obvious to him that this animal was looking for food and was currently focused on the herd to see if an easy prey might be available. Abraham immediately sent his trusty dogs in the direction of the beast to swiftly run him off.
This was no simple matter as the dogs were quite small in comparison to the girth of the prowling wolf. But this was of little concern because this is what the dogs were trained to do. So off they went, at Abraham’s command, to launch an attack on the threat and ward off the intruder. The wolf, surprised and taken aback by the barking dogs gave up his hunt and ran off back into the woods. “There,” Abraham thought, “another threat averted, another chore accomplished. Not too difficult this life I lead. I’ll be home soon and have time for a rest before dinner.”
As Abraham lay back in his position at the top of a large pile of stones, he dozed off to sleep. Immediately he began to dream, and in this dream he saw himself talking to God.
“My Lord,” he began, “I didn’t realize you would be so easily available. I find this quite astonishing. How is it that I can visit with you so readily as now?
“My dear Abraham,” the Lord began, “I am always with thee, each and every day. Today is no different. You are here and so am I, standing together, discussing affairs that are important to you.”
“But Lord, you are so busy. How is it that you could possibly have time for one such as myself?”
“I have time for all members of my flock, as you have for yours. Are we not the same, you and I? We look after our brethren. We chase away intruders. We watch over them and step in when necessary to help solve a problem.”
“That is so! That is so!” Abraham reflected. “But Lord, you rule over a mighty nation. I rule over a simple flock of sheep. You are the leader of me. I am merely a shepherd of sheep.”
“You are also a leader of men, Abraham. As true as your heart can be, you are way-shower to those who lose their way, who come to you for comfort and who share in your fine dining. You never turn away a Soul and always offer whatever extra you may have. You accomplish all this while your sheep slowly graze in the pastures you lead them to. Just like with people, sheep know what to do once they arrive, but first they must be brought to the right place. So you see my friend, our tasks are quite similar. I help you find your way in life, and you in turn, help others, be they men or sheep.”
“Thank you Lord, thank you for noticing my humble efforts. I had no idea you had time to observe me. How is it then that when I pray, I do not hear your voice or feel you in my heard? You say you are with me always, but I am not always aware of your presence. Can you help me to understand this?”
“Of course Abraham! You see my friend, there are times when my presence is ever so subtle. Those would be times when you act as if I were there with you. You do as I would in whatever situation you’re confronted with. At those times you hardly notice Me, for we are acting as One. At other times though, you really need me. And I come to you as quickly and as fiercely as required. If you need me to thunder an answer, this I do. If you need a subtler response, this I provide. But in no circumstance am I more present to you than when you pray to me from inside your heart. For then I am right beside you, friend, fueling every circumstance of your life with light, love and joy. For in your heart, dear Abraham, is where I live. And when you join me there We are One. As One there is none so powerful.”
“How do I find you in my heart, Lord? How do I distinguish you from all the other sounds and feelings I experience from the inside?”
“You are to listen to the sound that is the truest reflection of your nature,” the Lord replied. “If that sound says ‘go forth and heal a nation’ then that is what you are to do. If that sound says “tend to your flock and worry not about what others are doing’ then that is your truest purpose.
“I command you from inside your heart dear friend, not from without. Only from this center of your being can I truly reach you and advise you of your purpose. If your purpose has great meaning in the grand scheme of things, then it is truly urgent that you hear me. But even if the tasks I present are to be simple, they still must be heard and acted upon. For if one soldier in my great Army of Light does not do as instructed, then many others can be affected, adversely so.
“So you see my friend Abraham, each task, each purpose, had meaning and necessity in this place called Earth and all must participate to the utmost of their ability. If tending the sheep is what I have asked of you, then that is most important for you at this time. As you go about your duty I will continue to speak to you, just as I do to all who can hear me, to all who understand our grander purpose, to all who are prepared to do their part.”
“Thank you Lord, for helping me understand my purpose in your plan. I see that my life has meaning even though I do not see my chores as being of great significance. If I do not do my part, then who will? And further, of what purpose is my life if it is not informed by you? Thank you for helping me understand this.”
The Lord smiled as Abraham awakened to the braying of his sheep as they moved about the meadow that stretched out before him. “I am truly blessed,” he thought. “I do have a purpose after all and it is not so simple that anyone can do it. In fact it is so important that the Lord comes into my dreams and advises me on it.”
“And up from your heart,” came a voice from within.
“Yes, there’s that feeling” Abraham said to himself. “I’ve had that before. Now I understand what it is. When God can’t reach me through my heart, He comes to me in my dreams. Since He speaks to me through my heart I shall listen to that source more often. After all, it is easier to access and not as tricky to understand as some of those dreams. What is in my heart speaks directly to me, so there can be no misunderstanding. I shall pay attention more often, even when I have no major issues to be concerned about.”
And with that thought, Abraham felt satisfied. He knew he had visited with the Lord in his dreams. What he realized now was that he could access Him more readily through his heart. “Imagine,” he thought, “when the Lord and I work in harmony, we work as One. Imagine if all the Souls of the Universe operated in this fashion. Oh well,” he went on. “I will listen to my own pulse, tend to my sheep and let the Lord look after the bigger flock. If He needs my help, He will let me know.”