“The Happy Pony”
Princess was a very pretty pony. But none of her friends understood why she never competed for ribbons like all the other beautiful ponies. They all stayed in the common stables in town when they were not with their owners or training or racing or being shown for prizes.
“My master shows me in every pretty pony show in the kingdom,” Polly Pony said with great pride in her stable. She even kept her hair in braids and her ribbons on in the night when all the other ponies were ready for bed. That was how proud she was. “If your master was proud of you Princess, he would show you so all would know how pretty you are.”
“My master races me in all the races. When I win, he give me treats and promises me many more races.” Peter Pony said pawing the ground as though he was running that very minute.
“You have only belonged to your master for a month.” Polly said to Peter. “What happened to Prancer Pony, he belonged to your master before?”
“I think master sold Prancer because he stopped winning races.” Peter said sadly. “I liked Prancer, we were good friends. I think he had to go pull carts at the factory.” And Peter looked very sad.
“You know, my master used to care for me and my sisters.” Priscilla Pony said sadly. “But when Porsche and Petunia stopped winning….” She said and then a sad realization came over the stable.
“Don’t worry ponies.” Princess said in a joyful voice. “I am sure your masters love you and will keep you for all of your lives so you can play with the master’s children and be part of their holidays and know the joy of being part of his family.”
“Wait,” Peter said with fear and despair in his pony voice. “It makes sense now. I always win so Master always give me treats but then I have to train for hours and hours each day. I never see master. I love him so much but I only see him on race days. He doesn’t even ride me, just one of his workers. Why won’t my master play with me and train me and ride me? It’s like I am property, not his prize pony.” And he cried. Instead of knowing the joy of the love of his master and the pride of his great wins, Peter Pony felt small and lonely for his master.
“Do you know all those things Princess?” Polly Pony asked.
“Yes Polly. My master cares for me and all his horses and animals with tender care. He would do anything for us. Why once last winter, he went out in that horrible snowstorm to save Sammy Sheep who had gotten lost and was freezing in the woods. The master himself could have died but he was ready to give his life to save even the least of his own.”
“My master didn’t even come to the stable during that storm.” Priscilla said with sadness and despair in her voice. “I wanted to be with him because I was so afraid. Are you ever afraid, Princess Pony?” She said wondering about how Princess had gotten such a wonderful master.
“Yes, I get afraid. We all do. But when I do, my master knows it and he comes to me and comforts me and I know that nothing in the universe can harm me as long as I am his.”
“Who is this wonderful master?” Peter said wishing he could serve such a one that cared so much for his ponies.
“His name is Jesus,” Princess announced happily. “And he wants all ponies to know his love. I was owned by an evil master such as yours before Jesus saved me from him. But now I am not only the servant of Jesus, I am his friend and he loves me as his very own. He bought me at a great price from my evil master.” She said remembering the day she met him with tears in her pony eyes.
“I wish he would buy me.” Polly Pony said her face almost to the ground with sadness and feeling almost like she was dead.
“Well I have good news.” Princess said. “My master has room in his home for all of us. He doesn’t want any ponies to suffer or not know the joy of a loving master. Why just today, he saved Prancer and took him from slavery into the family of Jesus. And right now he is doing the same for Porsche and Petunia. If any of you will come to him, all of you can be bought by Jesus and be owned by a master who loves you.
And they all wanted that and Jesus was faithful to her promise for he had given all he had to save the ponies and they all became his and were treated as loved and loving friends and they had his family to love and play with and they were never thrown away for not being fast or pretty enough.
“Finally,” Polly said with a loud and happy whiney. “Finally we all know what Princess knew. We know the joy of knowing Jesus for our master.”
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” [John 10:11-18]