My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27
I remember many years ago, the State Fair offered free telephone calls to anywhere in the world. This was way before Skype, cell phones, and internet chat. So, I stepped in the booth and called a former co-teacher I used to work with in Australia. I hadn’t thought about the time zone difference nor that I hadn’t spoken to this person in the many years since I lived overseas. I just dialed their number and said, “Hi. How are you doing?” Once I said who I was, my friend was all excited to talk with me, but at first she didn’t recognize my voice. After all, it had been a very long time.
Does it seem like God is quiet sometimes, that you just can’t hear His voice? Maybe you feel He has forgotten and left you. Maybe you think God doesn’t speak to people anymore, that we’re just left on our own to figure life out. Or maybe, just maybe, we don’t hear God’s voice because we don’t listen for it. In fact, maybe like my call to my Aussie coworker, it’s been so long since you’ve had a conversation with Him that you don’t even recognize His voice any more.
We listen to so many things these days. There’s the radio, our favorite CDs, the iPod, the phone, the internet, the TV. There’s Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter to keep up with. There’s our family and friends who want and need your attention. And your ministry efforts and favorite causes call to you. Then your work shouts, “Pay attention to me,” in a voice so loud as to drown out everything else. And underneath the favorite novels and magazines, maybe there is a bible. No wonder we have a hard time listening to God!
Being likened to sheep is not the highest compliment. Sheep wander and stray. They follow their own way and get into trouble. Typically, we think of sheep as rather helpless and dumb. But smart sheep know the voice of their shepherd. They tune out distractions and pay attention to the voice of the one who protects and provides for them. They listen to Him and follow Him.
What kind of sheep are you going to be today? One who says, “I’ll have it MY way” or one who listens and follows the voice of the good shepherd? Be still, listen, and follow.