“I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.” - John 10:11-13
What are you most familiar with in life? What voice or voices echo in your mind most of the time? There are many influences we receive on a regular basis. Some are good and some are not so good. Often times we can talk ourselves into believing that the many “voices” or influences that we encounter on a daily basis do not affect us. We are pressured by the voice of the media, pop culture, love of money, a desire for recognition and so much more. These are powerful influences and, whether we want to believe it or not, they do affect us.
The Gospel above gives us insight into this internal struggle in that it contrasts the voice of the Shepherd with the voice of a stranger. The sheep are easily taught and conditioned. They learn the voice of their shepherd because it was common practice for shepherds to regularly speak to their sheep. Once the sheep became used to the shepherd’s voice, they would turn and follow him when he called.
So it is with us. We will follow the voice of that which we are most familiar. Whatever it is that we immerse ourselves in each and every day will grow on us and draw us, even unknowingly, to follow.
This begs the question, “What are you most familiar with?” Ideally, we spend sufficient time in God’s Word, learning His language, tone and voice. Ideally, we dedicate some portion of our day, every day, to silent contemplation of God. As we do this, we build a habit of hearing Him speak and we become comfortable with and comforted by His voice.
Once this habit is established in us, it will be much easier to go about our busy day hearing God whenever He chooses to speak. We will immediately recognize it is Him and we will follow.
Reflect, today, upon that which calls to you the loudest. Don’t let the many other voices in our world drown out God’s voice. Instead, prepare yourself for the moments He chooses to speak. And when He does speak, let that voice grab your attention so that you can follow.
Lord, help me to know and love Your gentle voice throughout my daily life. May that voice overwhelm all others that compete for my attention. I choose You, dear Lord, as my one Shepherd and guide. Jesus, I trust in You.