Meridian Star

February 9, 2013

From the Shepherd’s heart

By Dr. John A. Temple / Guest columnist
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     "I am the good shepherd.The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep." — John 10:11 (NKJV)

   Recently, I have followed the kidnapping story in Midland City, Ala., where Jimmy Lee Dykes kidnapped a small child from a school bus driven by Charles Albert Poland Jr. We know that after several days, law enforcement were successful in returning the child, Ethan, safely to his family.

    The part of the story that touched me was an interview with Aaron Poland, son of the bus driver killed when Dykes commandeered the bus. The word was that the driver, Charles Poland, gave his life trying to defend the children. In the interview, Aaron, said (regarding his dad), “My dad’s key job was to make sure every child was delivered safely to their parents. He treated the kids like his own.”     He took a personal interest in the lives of the children, celebrating whatever they did and was proud of them. When the kidnapper was eliminated and Ethan returned home, Aaron said he felt like his father’s job was now complete.

    When I read that story, I celebrated someone that could be so focused on others that he thought about the welfare of others in his care over any other concern. Charles Albert Poland is a hero that deserves honor for the way he sacrificed himself for the children.

    Another celebration for me is the way Jesus sacrificed Himself for us. Refusing to think about himself, He died that we might be released from the bondage of sin and avoid the threat of The Evil One who, “Comes but to steal, kill, and destroy.” It is because of the heroic acts of Christ that I am able to live and be free again.

    Jesus does consider us “His own children.” He does join us in celebrating when we are successful and celebrating life. He is interested in what we are doing. He also has one other aim like that of Charles Poland, Jr. His job is considered complete only when we all safely arrive at home.

    Today, I hope you know the safety and encouragement of the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep.

    Dr. John A. Temple is pastor of Poplar Springs Drive Baptist Church, located at 4032 Poplar Springs Drive in Meridian. Visit the church website online at www.