Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Knowing the Shepherd’s Voice?
Babies are darling, and adorable, and sometimes fretful and even fussy. Babies are often perceptive, and often know exactly who they can be safe with. I met a baby—about six or seven months old—just a few hours ago. Adorable baby! And, quite comfortable with his mom. The baby knew very well who was important!
The liturgical lectionary scripture reading for today communicated this very thing. In this passage about sheep from John 10, Jesus tells His disciples how the sheep follow the Shepherd because they know His voice. The sheep know very well who is important!
Not hired help, not thieves and robbers, but shepherds. The shepherd is important. (To the sheep, anyway!) Our Lord Jesus expressly says this; I suspect the possibility of thieves and robbers coming to steal and destroy was a real threat.
In terms of today, the concept of sheep transfers to the local congregation, or group of believers. The hired help or even the thieves and robbers can be seen as church leaders or ministers. Not very effective leaders, or loving leaders, or engaged leaders.
These specific church leaders or ministers are out for their own aggrandizement and financial gain. Or, control and manipulation. Regardless, these grasping, self-involved thieves and robbers often remain in their positions for a long time.
Let’s thank our Lord for bringing this negative feature of false ministers to our attention. Also, thanks for the generous word-picture of the sheep following the One they know best.
Let’s pray. Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for the good and gracious promises that keep us centered in You. Forgive us for taking You for granted, and even forgetting all about You. As we come to You on a regular basis, please encourage our hearts to care for You and our minds to welcome Your words. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.
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