The Gospel of John chapter 10 contains the story of the Good Shepherd. In this story, he shares that a good shepherd will do all he can to ensure his sheep’s safety and comfort, even to the point of laying down his life for them. He alludes to the efforts of those who came before Him. They attempted to guide the sheep but did not do so with love and compassion and had taken shortcuts. They wielded their responsibility and staff incorrectly and led with coercion, not cohesion. The good shepherd loves and knows His sheep and wants what is good for them; when they follow His voice, they are not led astray.
The story is also a prelude to Jesus’ laying down of His life for humanity. However, it also contains a great reminder that His life was not just about going to the cross to reconcile us to God. Not only did Jesus come to lay down His life, but, as He stated, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10b).
What is this full life?
Is it a life with plenty to eat, good health, all the money we want and few troubles to bother us?
Is it a life that is comfortable and convenient?
In Matthew’s gospel, we read, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matt 6:34) After sharing a way to pray, Jesus throws in this reminder that life is not always green pastures. He has warned us that we will suffer, but we can talk with our Father in Heaven and bring Him all our concerns. Scripture also reminds us that when Jesus ascended to heaven after rising from death, He sent the Comforter, his Holy Spirit, to help us through the darkness.
The year 2020 was filled with ugly stories of human folly, and 2021 looks to bring the same. The COVID virus has revealed humanity’s true depraved nature. We witnessed self-preservation, self-indulgence, and self-adulation as many turned to social media to sew discontent in our leadership. The preying on the already anxious and apprehensive, the spreading of false information became a way of life. Instead of turning to God and loving neighbours as self, the virus spawned the opportunity for evil to thrive.
To face what the world has become, we need to empty ourselves and become followers of Christ and servants of each other. To be a witness to others, we first need to place our trust in the Good Shepherd. It means getting to the point where we don’t even lift a finger on any activity or thought without surrendering control to Jesus. When we take our hands entirely off our lives and imitate Christ in our thoughts, actions, words, and opinions of others, we will realize that we don’t need more “things” in our lives; instead, we make do with what we have so that we have more to share with others.
This abundant life that the Good Shepherd Jesus died to give us causes us to want to share the good news with others.
So, we want to talk “Jesus” to those who will listen. This change of lifestyle is made possible by the Holy Spirit’s activity, which gives us a new spirit in tune with God’s purpose.
Daily we can go before the Lord and pour out our worries, anxieties, and fears at His feet. We should declare His promises for blessings of peace and strength over our life. We can listen for His voice. We can ask God to bring peace into our soul that passes all worldly understanding so we can be a light for others to see God’s strength.