As a shepherd you are called to look after sheep. If you are not interested in looking after sheep then you are not a shepherd. The call of the Lord through Peter is to be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them – not because you must, but because you are willing (1 Pet. 5:2a). That heart of care which God gives to a true shepherd means that you want to care for the sheep. It is then very hard for a shepherd to have sheep in his flock who do not want to be cared for.
Sheep who do not want to listen to what the shepherd says or do not want to be examined by the shepherd, to make sure that they are in good spiritual health, break the heart of a shepherd. The shepherd sends out the sheep dogs to “round up” such sheep, but the sheep rebuffs the dogs and say I know best. The pain becomes particularly intense for the shepherd when they know that the sheep need tending to in order to prevent them from going into danger or when their health is at stake.
And sometimes it is simply the not knowing. When a sheep shuns the shepherd and says “I don’t want to see you” the caring shepherd is pained because they want to know of the welfare of the sheep. I feel that sheep do not understand what grief they cause to a caring shepherd by refusing their care.
Perhaps an unintended consequence of this is that the caring shepherd turns to intense prayer for the sheep, and that has to be good. But the true shepherd should be praying intensely anyway.