“The Lord is my shepherd” (Ps 23) is often taken to be a consolation for the afflicted, and so it is. It is also a call to be a sheep. Who wants to be a sheep? Our human self-respect will rebel against the idea. Fortunately the words of the psalm are only a metaphor. God is perfectly well aware that human beings are not sheep.
One thing we have in common with sheep, however, is a tendency to wander and to become frightened. That will certainly happen if we have no shepherd. Those of us who have become tired of wandering and of fear will welcome the shepherd. We may even be tempted to pity those who insist on doing everything their own way, however disastrous that may be. If pity conceals a feeling of superiority, it is wicked. If it is compassion for those who are reliving our own past it is good. At any time some of us are in the flock and others are not. The sheep need one another in their predicament and all of us need the one shepherd.
You, Lord Jesus, are my shepherd; you are our shepherd. I grieve as you did over the wandering sheep and pray that they and I may find refuge in you.