I believe that Jesus is the good shepherd. I’m just not so sure that we are very good sheep.
It has always been one of my favorite images–Jesus, the good shepherd. He walks through the gate in the cool of the morning and calls our name to gather us to him. He goes ahead of us to lead us to quiet waters where we will never thirst, and to green pastures where we will never be hungry. He’s not a thief who sneaks up on the sheep to kill, steal and destroy. He’s not a hired hand who runs away in the face of danger, but rather he laid down his life for his sheep. The good shepherd restores our soul, saves us, redeems our brokenness and guides us into a full, abundant life.
The good shepherd’s sheep, Jesus says, listen to him. In fact, they listen to him so much that they know his voice before he even calls their name. They would never follow a stranger, but would run away from him because the stranger’s voice is different from their shepherd’s. They know their shepherd’s voice because they listen to him daily. His sheep know him intimately, as much as Jesus knows the Father, and the Father knows his son. They believe him and follow him.
- I want to listen more. I want to know his voice better than my kids’ voices, my husband’s or my friends’. I want to listen to him more than I listen to my favorite author, preacher, music or actor. I want to hear the quiet nudges of his spirit over the loud demands of the day. And when a stranger speaks to entice me the wrong way, I want to run the other direction because I recognize it’s not the voice of my good shepherd.
- I want to follow him. As I become a better listener, I’ll be a better follower. I want to follow him to the green pastures and drink from his deep waters that quench the thirst of the soul. Instead of following the check-list of my religious requirements,the three- step remedies in the self-help books, or following everyone else chasing the American dream, I want to follow the good shepherd.
- I want to be part of a flock. I know I can’t be a good sheep all by myself. There are other people who have been listening to the shepherd’s voice longer than I have, and I have a lot to learn from their experiences. Sheep thrive in flocks, so I want to journey with others in the good shepherd’s flock.
What about you? Is there something you would like to share about being a good sheep? How do you listen to the good shepherd?
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…I know my sheep and my sheep know me…My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life.” John 10