Twas A Sheep Not A Lamb That Strayed Away

sheep3.jpg

‘Twas a sheep not a lamb that went astray
In the parable Jesus told.
‘Twas a grown sheep that wandered away
From the ninety and nine in the fold.

And out on the hilltop, and out in the cold,
‘Twas a sheep the Good Shepherd sought.
Back to the fold and back to the flock,
‘Twas a sheep that the Good Shepherd brought.

Now, why should the sheep be so carefully fed
And cared for even to-day?
Because there is danger if they go wrong,
They will lead the lambs astray.

The lambs will follow the sheep, you know,
Where’er they wander–where’er they go.
If the sheep goes wrong, it will not be long
Till the lambs are as wrong as they.

So still with the sheep we must earnestly plead,
For the sake of the lambs to-day.
If the lambs are lost, what a terrible cost
The sheep will have to pay!

-C.C. Miller

*Also possibly by Minnie Lee Bovender, who penned a similar version of this poem. See more info in the comments below.

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Comments

    • C. Ingle
    • August 8, 2010
    Reply

    Hi, just thought I’d let you know you left out one of my favorite parts, the stanza about the good Shepherd. Here’s a copy of the whole thing (worded a little differently):

    ‘Twas a sheep not a lamb that went astray
    In the parable Jesus told.
    ‘Twas a grown sheep that wandered away
    From the ninety and nine in the fold.

    And out on the hilltop, and out in the cold,
    ‘Twas a sheep the Good Shepherd sought.
    Back to the fold and back to the flock,
    ‘Twas a sheep that the Good Shepherd brought.

    Now, why should the sheep be so carefully fed
    And cared for even to-day?
    Because there is danger if they go wrong,
    They will lead the lambs astray.

    The lambs will follow the sheep, you know,
    Where’er they wander–where’er they go.
    If the sheep goes wrong, it will not be long
    Till the lambs are as wrong as they.

    So still with the sheep we must earnestly plead,
    For the sake of the lambs to-day.
    If the lambs are lost, what a terrible cost
    The sheep will have to pay!

    1. Reply

      Thanks, Chelsey. Good to know it’s now complete.

    • The Bible
    • November 23, 2010
    Reply

    God changed my life

    • David Parrish
    • November 9, 2011
    Reply

    I think Chelsey’s version of the poem has a bit more of a bite to it.

    In the first version, “If the sheep are lost, what a terrible cost the lambs will have to pay.” the heart is caused to worry about the lambs who innocently follow a wayward leader.

    But in Chelsey’s verson, “If the lambs are lost, what a terrible cost the sheep will have to pay! the heart must break for the wayward leader who will suffer more severely for misleading the innocent.

      • shawn
      • November 11, 2011
      Reply

      Wow! I didn’t even notice the difference there. I had read and re-read the two versions of the poem and thought about trying to amalgamate them, but they’re both so different. Strange though, isn’t it? The differences? I wonder how or why the differences happened.

    • Lee
    • November 17, 2011
    Reply

    I agree with David about the difference in the two stories. If we look at life in general whenever things do go wrong someone has to pay, it is most unlikely to be the leader but most of the time it is the poor lambs who followed him, just a thought….smile! Have a wonderful day, Lee

    • chrisw
    • June 17, 2012
    Reply

    Either way you read it , it is so true . What powerful words .

    • Debbie
    • October 12, 2014
    Reply

    Yes, it can be interpreted in different ways. To me it is a fact that we sheep have a responsibilty to the lambs in our world to love and treat them as Jesus would. If we don’t, the lambs may be injured and may ultimately be lost, and according to scripture, we will be held accountable when we meet Him face to face.

    • S
    • August 2, 2015
    Reply

    Excellent!

    • Lew Wilson
    • February 6, 2016
    Reply

    Given good discussion, what is the correct atribution?
    Some use a CC Miller…
    Others use the Rev. CD Meigs…

      • shawn
      • February 12, 2016
      Reply

      I don’t know, Lew. I found most of the copies on the net that seem to attribute it to CC Miller, but I see he was really just a famous beekeeper, and wrote a lot about bees. Why would he then switch and write about sheep, right? 🙂

      I did find another variation of this poem by Minnie Lee Bovender, and it’s similar, but still very different. I DID find a couple mentions of Rev CD Meigs quoting this poem and others rather recently, whereas CC Miller is first quoted as being the author of this back in 1965.

      I think the earlier mentions trump the recent mentions in this case. Thanks, though, for checking with me. I hope you keep coming back to the blog and drop me a line again. 🙂 -Shawn

    • Joe Owen
    • November 30, 2016
    Reply

    Shawn, I became interested in this poem because my Grandfather typed it out on an old typewriter and sent it to my mother. It was published as a bookmark and attributed to Minnie Lee Bovender. Minnie Lee Bovender wrote several books of poems in 1945 and 1947. I didn’t want to buy a copy just to find out if she was the author, but I think that the publishers of the bookmark probably had to determine that she was the author. Here is a link which still sells the bookmark: http://bibletruthpublishers.com/twas-a-sheep-not-a-lamb-poetry-bookmark-cards/pd6096

    1. Reply

      Thanks, Joe. If you read the comments on my blog (the one at happypublishing.com), you’ll see a bit of discussion on different versions of the poem, and one mention of Minnie Lee Bovender. Check it o….OH! I see you left a comment there too! I’ll go approve it & we’ll keep talking there.

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