Thursday, June 2, 2022

"I Am...The Good Shepherd!" What does that mean for me?

 I am the good shepherd (John 10:11, 14)...

While I haven’t spent a lot of time around sheep, I do know a few things about them.  
What I know sort of makes me resent this particular “I Am” statement...
If Jesus is the Good Shepherd, then by common sense deduction, I am one of His sheep.  
Forget the soft cuddly little animal that decorates nurseries.  
What a misrepresentation of the real deal!
Everything I know about sheep begins with the letter “s”.  
They stink. They are stubborn. They are stupid.  
The last thing I want to acknowledge about myself is that I might be a sheep.  
In reality, however, it is an accurate comparison (well, my smell isn’t so awful, but my behavior can be...).  
So, yes, I need a shepherd...desperately!
Having spent 100 + days in 2021 studying the 23rd Psalm (a challenge I enjoyed)...I know there is more to this "I Am" than one blog can cover...
...But, for the purposes of this week’s reflection, we will only look at one attribute of a Good Shepherd.  
A good shepherd is a good leader:
“...the sheep listen to His voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them...and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice. They will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice (John 10:3b-4).”
Sheep do that, you know...they follow their own shepherd.  
They might be in a field filled with other sheep from other folds, but, because they have spent so much time with their own shepherd, they recognize his voice.  
When they hear that voice, they follow.  
They separate out from the rest of the sheep, and they go after their shepherd.  
Because they have spent so much time with their own shepherd, they trust that he will “lead them beside quiet, restorative waters (Ps 23:2b-3).”  
They won’t trust other shepherds to do the same.  
Following a shepherd is an issue of trust...always!
When Jesus speaks this “I Am” statement, His singular vision, His primary purpose, His truth for me to grapple with is this:  
Will I let Him lead?
Do I trust Him to lead me to the place that is best for me? 
You see, a lot of times, I look to Jesus as a friend, a confidant, an advisor, an encourager, a counselor, a “life-coach” (if you will), a computerized GPS... 
While He is very much those things along the way of life, He, first and foremost, desires my heart to allow Him to do what He does best – LEAD.   
My BIG problem? I want a bit of a say in where we go.  
I want a head’s up for the journey ahead.  
I really am saying something like this to my shepherd, “Oh, I’ll follow............but, with some consideration. Just give me a little idea of what’s up the road. Let me deliberate a little bit.”  
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, doesn’t want my consideration.  
He doesn’t desire deliberation.  
His plan is for my participation.  
We can trust that while the upward climb may sometimes seem steep and rocky – the grass at the top will be healthier and we will ultimately be happier (more blessed).
Blessed am I when I don’t just consider following my Good Shepherd, but surrender to Him with willing and eager participation!

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