Jesus, Your Constant Shepherd (Apr. 11, 2016)

Frank was worried that the lady he married forty years ago was growing deaf. So one day when she was working in the garden, he went out, stood on the other side of the yard, about thirty feet behind her, and called out, “Mary!” No answer. Frank came fifteen feet closer. “Mary!” Still no answer. Frank was getting worried. Worse than I expected, he thought.

He went up right behind her, almost touching, as she knelt over her planting. “Mary!” This time a response: “For the third time, Frank, what is it??”

Our world has gotten louderand we allow it to influence us. Some apparently yearn for noise witness how many people are wearing ear buds! Our ears get assaulted so much, that it’s a wonder we can hear the quiet, intimate, gentle voices at all. “They hear my voice,” Jesus said. He was talking about us. Really? Do we? Can we really hear? Do we even want to listen?

As our Good Shepherd, Jesus offers us ultimate “security,” not in the sense that we will never suffer, or be frightened, or be afflicted by the evil that surrounds us. But in the midst of it all, he “knows” us. Thoroughly, completely, intimately. If you look back on your life, you probably can admit that Jesus has definitely fulfilled his responsibility as your shepherd.

And if you feel he hasn’t, then whose fault is that? We’re not dumb sheep. You and I have a duty to hear his voice and follow him. Hearing the voice of the loved one is natural in any intimate relationship. Heck, our dogs and cats hear us with ease. They can be silent to the voice of an outsider but the moment they hear our voice, they jump up and wag their tails. If animals can do this, can’t we distinguish his voice from the many voices that are urging us to follow them, each trying to influence our values and behaviors with their voices.

How does the Lord speak? Deep within our hearts, when we have a desire to somehow someway give life to other people through our actions or words, then we can be pretty sure the Shepherd has spoken to us. It only remains to follow through on what we have heard.

Be God’s smile for someone today!

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