Monday, March 08, 2010
After the Message
This is my very bad dog, Auburn. Sure, he looks sweet, and he is. He's a lover to a fault. He's so intent on being with people that he completely disregards commands such as, "Come," "Sit," and "Down." Friends send us text messages when they're around the corner from our house so we know to put Auburn outside and keep his barking from waking Jacob.
But here's the thing: "There are no bad dogs, only bad owners."
I own it, it's true. Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer, would say that I need to be the leader of the pack. I try, but again and again I fail. I'm sure there are many reasons, but two that come to mind are my own instability and the bad habits I created by acting out of my own convenience.
Good news - I'm not leader of the pack...Jesus is.
John 10:11-13 - Pharisees think Jesus is just some guy who's messing with their laws and calling it a God thing. They think they're the leaders of the pack and Jesus simply isn't complying. They think being leader of the pack has to do with fear and submission...Jesus has a different approach.
Jesus says, "I am the good shepherd."
Immediately the good shepherd is contrasted with the hired hand. The hired hand has the option of running away when things aren't easy or aren't working out like he thought. After all, the sheep don't belong to him. In other words, the hired hand has the fight or flight option, the hired hand is in it to make a living.
Jesus says, "I am the good shepherd." The very nature of shepherd implies sheep - there is an intimate connection. The sheep belong to Jesus. He can't let them go astray, even if it costs him his life.
Whether we like to admit it or not, we are most often like the hired hand. Not always - kids are an exception, sometimes spouses :), and maybe a few close friends. Our instincts lead us to self-preservation while Jesus' instinct is sheep-preservation.
Here's where it gets really cool. At our best, we start to look outside of ourselves and care about the needs and desires of others. But Jesus not only keeps at heart the best interest of those who follow him, are like him, want to be with him, etc. Jesus goes after the disobedient, the ones nobody likes, the ones who are hopeless and blind. We wake up every day and take account of our lives and the lives of those we love. Jesus wakes up every morning and the first thing he does before assessing his own needs is account for all of his sheep. And when they're all accounted for, he says, "Let's go find some more."
Now there's a pack leader I want to follow.
Jesus is the shepherd and it's time for us to stop competing for the job and instead embrace our role as sheep - sheep who know their Master's voice and take time to listen for it, sheep who recognize their livelihood and future are entirely dependent on the Master's protection and His willingness to lay down his life for you and me.
How are you doing as a sheep?