Life Notes—April 22, 2010
“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.” John 10:3b-5
I am not a good follower. A good follower follows. A good follower waits for instructions and waits to make sure he or she understands the leading of the leader, and then obediently follows as instructed. A good follower does not question why the leader is leading down a particular path, nor does he or she question whether the leader has his or her best interests at heart. A good follower trusts the leader.
Obviously, only a good and ethical leader is worthy of good followers. Otherwise we can end up with atrocities like occurred in Nazi Germany. While I consider Jesus Christ to be firmly in the “good and trustworthy leader” category, I am still a poor follower. I question everything. I read a passage of scripture and host an argument in my head about what it means and how or if it applies to me. When Jesus suggests I turn the other cheek, I question whether he means literally (so I could end up slapped on both cheeks), or whether he means figuratively (so my cheeks are in tact, but I have to give up a clever verbal reaction to another’s unkindness), or whether it was something that applied 2000 years ago but not today.
I confess to sometimes being one of those irritating people who finish the sentences of others. I jump to conclusions while the case is being made. I make assumptions about the motives of others long before I have all the information. At times I act as though I do not have time to follow the conversation of others, as if I am an extremely busy and important person. In fact, I am neither. I am just impatient and a poor follower. If I sometimes cannot even follow a conversation, how can I follow the leadings of my Lord and Savior—the one I know has my best interests at heart?
The good news is the deeper our relationship with our Lord, the more intimately we recognize his voice; and the less likely we are to be led astray by imposters. Our unwillingness to follow serves us well, sometimes, as too many would-be leaders are not worthy of followers. The trick is to distinguish the shepherd’s voice from the other noise so we know when to suspend our skepticism and follow.
Tom continues his “Simply Christian” series with, “Following Jesus,” based on the scripture John 10:1-18. Life Worship is at 10:45 in Brady Hall. Traditional services in the sanctuary are at 8:30 and 11:00. Contemporary worship at the west campus is at 9:30.
Come home to worship this Sunday. Do you recognize the voice of your shepherd?
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator