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May 15th, 2010

Sheep lessons on management

Scribbled the other day:

In the management of sheep, there are two business models: the shepherd model and the sheepfold model.

In the shepherd methodology, the sheep are managed by a person. This person is known as the shepherd. The shepherd shows the sheep where to go, so the sheep do not have to worry about going the wrong way. The shepherd also protects the sheep from harm, so the sheep do not have to worry about their safety. If a sheep makes a mistake and gets lost, it cries out to the shepherd *baaa* and the good shepherd will come and help it get out of trouble.

When the shepherd is not present, the sheepfold model comes into play. Here, the sheep are protected by a fence or a wall that surrounds them. This wall clearly prevents the sheep from coming to harm by marking out boundaries which they cannot accidentally cross.

When a sheep has neither shepherd (personal guidance) nor sheepfold (impersonal guidelines, policies, communications), the sheep is naturally very anxious about making a mistake and coming to harm.

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'Forget' and be 'Fruitful'

Last night's devotional taught me a very important lesson from the names of the sons of Joseph.

Genesis 41:50-53
"And to Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, whom Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On, bore to him. Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: 'For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father's house.' And the name of the second he called Ephraim: 'For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.'"

Romans 8:28
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Joseph went through times of trial - he was sold into slavery in a foreign land and was later thrown into prison for some number of years because someone lied about him. Those times must have been dreadful for Joseph. But Joseph did not lose faith in God. He trusted God and gave Him glory. Now, in the end, Joseph was made second in command in Egypt and he was honored by Pharaoh. During these years of blessing and plenty, Joseph was married and had two sons - Manasseh and Ephraim.

Manasseh (causing to forget) God caused Joseph to forget his painful times
Ephraim (fruitful) God made Joseph fruitful

God used those hard times in Joseph's life for good. Joseph later told his brothers, "you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive." The trials in Joseph's life were not easy, but after they were over, God blessed Joseph by causing him to forget all that pain and by blessing him richly in many, many ways. God may allow trials to come into our lives, but He can use "all things" for wonderfully good ends (Ephraim), and He can also heal us from the pain of those trials (Manasseh).

For all who face trials and still seek the Lord, may He preserve you, take "all things" and use them for good future results, and also heal you completely ♥

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