“Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest”

(Matthew 11:28 NAS).

Recently, my friend, Helen, sent this wonderful story of Shrek the sheep which has an excellent message and application for us today:

Shrek, sheep

[Shrek the sheep] became famous several years ago when he was found after hiding out in caves for six years. Of course, during this time his fleece grew without anyone there to shorn (shave) it. When he was finally found and shaved, his fleece weighed an amazing sixty pounds. Most sheep have a fleece weighing just under ten pounds, with the exception usually reaching fifteen pounds, maximum. For six years, Shrek carried six times the regular weight of his fleece. Simply because he was away from his shepherd.

This reminds me of John 10 when Jesus compares Himself to a shepherd, and His followers are His sheep. Maybe it’s a stretch, but I think Shrek is much like a person who knows Jesus Christ but has wandered. If we avoid Christ’s constant refining of our character, we’re going to accumulate extra weight in this world—a weight we don’t have to bear. When Shrek was found, a professional sheep shearer took care of Shrek’s fleece in twenty-eight minutes. Shrek’s sixty pound fleece was finally removed. All it took was coming home to his shepherd.

I believe Christ can lift the burdens we carry, if only we stop hiding. He can shave off our ‘fleece’—that is, our self-imposed burdens brought about by wandering from our Good Shepherd.

Next time you feel weighed down with burdens and cares, think of this picture of Shrek the sheep. No matter how heavy or how long we have been carrying them, our Good Shepherd is “gentle and humble in heart” and our weary souls can find rest and strength in Him (Matthew 11:29). We don’t have to stumble about, “heavy laden” any longer.

Give them all to Jesus! Surrender your will and life to Him and say, “Lord, not my will, but Yours be done (Luke 22:42). I give You my frustration, anxieties, fear, and grief. I trust Your wisdom and perfect timing. Even if You keep me waiting for days/weeks/years, my heart is fixed on You alone. I will wait for You with full confidence that You will be my constant joy no-matter-what.”

No one understands like Jesus,

When the days are dark and grim;

No one is so near, so dear as Jesus,

Cast your every care on Him. –John W. Peterson