Dear Friends of MES,

“1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the [c]still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” – Psalm 23: 1-4

In the literal sense of the scripture in Psalm 23, a shepherd’s tools represent protection, guidance, and discipline. Sometimes, a shepherd breaks the leg of a sheep if it keeps straying off. Then, the shepherd carries the sheep on his shoulder and talks to the sheep so that it can learn to trust the shepherd’s voice. In the metaphorical sense, where the Shepherd is our Heavenly Father, breaking a leg can symbolise moments of trial or difficulty in our lives. Yet, even in these moments, the voice of the Shepherd remains constant. He whispers comfort and assurance, reminding us of His presence and promise never to leave nor forsake us. Knowing the voice of the Shepherd and recognising the significance of His rod and staff is crucial for those who follow Him.

The rod and staff serve distinct yet complementary purposes.

The rod, a sturdy wooden tool, symbolises the shepherd’s authority and protection. It fends off predators and keeps the flock safe from harm. Likewise, in our spiritual journey, the rod represents God’s protective hand over His people, guarding them from the dangers that lurk in the darkness of the world.

The staff, a long-crooked stick with a hook at one end, serves as a tool for guidance and correction. The shepherd uses it to gently guide wayward sheep back onto the right path and to rescue them from precarious situations. Similarly, God’s staff represents His gentle guidance and correction in our lives, steering us away from harmful paths and leading us towards righteousness.

When we know the voice of the Shepherd and understand the significance of His rod and staff, we can find strength and hope even amid our darkest moments. We can trust that He will lead us safely through the valleys, mend our brokenness, and restore our souls.

It is my prayer that during Easter, we will hear the voice of our Shepherd as we celebrate the gift of life made possible through His crucifixion and resurrection. We will find time to lay down our burdens and lean closer to the Vine so that we can continue to bear fruits!

I wish you enough!

Leona Pienaar

Leona Pienaar, CEO of MES