This past week as I was walking along a footpath through a sheep herd I was given a fresh appreciation for this concept. I walked, the sheep gave me no second glances, I even spoke, they didn’t flinch. But as I was on the edge of the field, their shepherd came in, suddenly before he could finish a word, the sheep ran with full force toward him from both near and far. They knew him, his appearance, his walk, his voice.
I love a few things from this experience of mine. First thing I took note of is that they didn’t even move, when I, a stranger walked through their land. The fact that I was there on their land didn’t distract them, nor were they fooled when I spoke. Not only did they immediately ignore me once they had identified I was strange to them, but they seemed far from tempted to approach me for food. Often times I think as Christians we are so easily distracted by what is the false thing. Sheep know that people are the ones who feed them, as we know God is our supply, but how often is it we rely on other things we think can provide for us while we get impatient waiting on God. This may be “self” provision, or we may so easily accept offers from “strangers.”
Aside from them not being fooled by me when I spoke to them, they knew when the true shepherd had come. Even as he approached, some sheep began heading toward him, then as soon as they heard his voice they ran. They didn’t just walk, they didn’t say to themselves “when I’m done what I’m doing.” But they ran with all they had to meet their shepherd. How seldom is it that we even recognize the voice of our Great Shepherd, let alone run to Him when we are currently busy? So commonly we allow for our tasks at hand to so distract us, even ministry at times, that we would rarely drop it to run to Him who we knew so well.
I know we all struggle with distinguishing His voice from our own fleshly desires at times, or even the enemy’s mischievous ways of disguising himself. Reality is, if we, like the sheep, know that He is supplier of all that we need; physically, emotionally and spiritually, how much faster would we run to Him. As that dependence becomes a norm, we begin to better recognize His voice each time we respond. But I wonder how regularly we may not even hear His voice because we are so busy, to focused on wrong things or are so unfamiliar with His loving care.
Its time we acquaint ourselves with the True Shepherd, run to Him with all we have and continue to keep our ear open for even His still small voice in the distance, that we might cling to Him for all that we need.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27
Also Read John 10:1-18