Over the years of running the charity Mustard Seed Jersey, I have received many, many gifts from beneficiaries in Eastern Europe. Many I have discreetly given to others, but there are some that I have kept. And one of those is a tapestry picture on my sitting-room wall.
It depicts the scene of a field with a shepherd carrying a lamb in one arm and holding his shepherds crook in his other hand with other sheep and lambs all around. If I look at it critically it probably isn’t that good, but it is precious to me, because of who gave it to me.
17 years ago Mustard Seed was very involved in assisting young women who had been brought up in the Romanian state orphanage system. We helped them with education and life skills once they left there at the age of 18. We invested time & money so they could become independent and self supporting. We found they needed help for a number of years, as life in an institution had NOT prepared them for life outside.
With the help of a social worker, one such group of girls worked together on this tapestry to give to me as an expression of their gratitude. As they stitched I have no doubt the social worker reminded them of the Bible passage about Jesus the Good Shepherd who searched for the one lost sheep. I am sure she emphasised to the girls that Jesus cares for each and every person, including those brought up in an orphanage.
Let me read you some words of Jesus from St John’s Gospel:
“I am the Good Shepherd. I know My own sheep and they know Me. And I lay down My life for the sheep”.
As I see the picture on my wall, I remember the girls who stitched this tapestry and I think of the message of the picture of Jesus the Good Shepherd. To me the picture is precious.