Week 35: Knowing His Voice

Week 35: Knowing His Voice

Today’s Text: John 10-12

Key Text: John 10:1-3

“I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”

In our society, which values self-sufficiency so much, the idea of sheep following a shepherd – even a good one – may strike us as a quaint pastoral scene – but not one we want to consider really applicable in our lives.

We might not like the idea of putting ourselves in the role of the sheep, following wherever the good shepherd leads.

But I, for one, think it is a wonderful and comforting image for us to adopt as a model for our spiritual lives.

I love the idea of being known by God in such an intimate way. I also love the thought of my knowing God so intimately that I am willing to follow wherever and whenever God leads me “out.”

In Jesus’ day, people knew all about shepherds – good ones and bad ones.

They would have readily appreciated that God could be the best shepherd of all. They even had a scripture about that. You know the one…

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

Still, I suppose it is human nature that even the faithful followers of Jesus found it difficult at time to listen for his voice and dutifully follow.

It is so tempting to go our own way – think we know best – and put ourselves in real spiritual peril because of it.

So it’s helpful to turn to this scripture regularly – to hear the warning and the comfort in it.

“Watch out for the one who is trying to lead you out any other way than through the gate.”

“Watch out for the one who promises you greener, better pastures than what I offer.”

“Watch out for the thief and robber – who only wants to steal your soul.”

“Watch – and listen – for my voice – then follow.”

That’s what I hear in this ancient story about good and bad shepherds.

I hear the call of a loving God, calling me home.

How about you?

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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