Prepare yourself to discern what is and what is not of God today. Still yourself so you can hear how God is calling you.
John 10:1-10 (NRSV)
“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
We have a lot of voices calling to us in our world today. Voices that tell us that we are not enough, that we need more, and that we only need to concern ourselves with pursuing our own best interests. Sometimes these voices call out so loudly that we have trouble hearing the voice of our Shepherd trying to lead us. It’s hard to distinguish between God’s voice and the ones that sound good but will actually harm us. Even in this passage the disciples had trouble understanding what Jesus was trying to say to them.
Jesus makes us two important promises in this scripture that help us to recognize his voice. He says that the shepherd calls the sheep by name. You are not just another sheep in a crowd; our great Shepherd knows your name, knows what you are like, what you need, and wants to take care of you. The other promise is that God’s voice will lead us to abundant life. God’s voice is the one that speaks truth about who you are, that treats you as a unique individual, and that leads you away from things that will destroy you so that you may have abundant life. That is a voice worth following.
Wonderful Shepherd, speak to me loudly and clearly today. Help me to distinguish your voice from the voices of the thieves in my life that seek to destroy me. Lead me into the abundant life that you have prepared for me. Amen.
Go with God.