I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. – John 10:14-15 (ESV)
When I was in kindergarten, I got to play the role of Babe. You know – the pig turned sheep-herder by Farmer Hogget. It was great – I got to wear a paper cup over my nose and in the most pivotal part of the play – the girl playing Ma the Sheep forgot her lines.
In the story of Babe, where this pig becomes adopted into the farm and taken under as a sheep-dog, this wee little pig steps into the world of the sheep – helping them realize that everything the farmer is doing and asking of them is for their own good. When they don’t want medicine in their mouth because they don’t understand, Babe helps communicate their need for this to keep them well. He is able to show them that it is for their good. By entering into a relationship with them – not coming down on them like the aggressive, prideful sheep-dogs, but meeting them where they are at, they begin to respond to his call. The call of a tiny pig in turn leads for them to follow him wherever he asks. They learn he can be trusted, and in turn respond willingly to all he asks. He even leads a moving scene where he sacrifices himself against murderous sheep-thieves, nearly costing Babe his life.
And while this work of fiction is a heartwarming story – what if there is a deeper truth that hits much closer than we would like? What if we are more like these sheep then we let on – but maybe just a bit more stubborn? What if we are missing this call? This call to something we may not fully understand. That from our limited understanding doesn’t make sense.
For most of us, we like the comfort of what we know. Personally, I like my little rental in North Canton. I like my church I have worked for since before I graduated college. I like my state, Ohio, which I have never lived outside. None of these things are bad but all of these can stop me from hearing the call of my Shepherd.
If I love my home more than Jesus – I have decided that Jesus has no calling over my home. If I love the ease of both sets of grandparents more than I love Jesus – I have decided Jesus has no calling over my family. If I love my place of work more than I love Jesus I have decided job security is better than trusting Jesus. If I love the comfort of my child getting a scholarship and a salary-paying job more than stepping out in faith – I have decided Jesus has no calling over my children.
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26
This isn’t a call to quit, to move, to give up – but if it is…Are we willing? Do I really believe that I am no longer my own, that I am a new creation, that I am a follower of Jesus? If he calls, will I answer? Will I step out in faith? Even if it is uncomfortable. Even if I don’t know the outcome.
Do I really believe that Jesus is Lord of my life – or just of my Sunday?