I am not trying to be mean toward sheep, I’m merely stating a known fact. Sheep are prone to wander and they get themselves into trouble a lot. They don’t know where to go for water, for pasture, or for safety. Sheep need a shepherd. The Bible uses sheep as a metaphor for followers of Jesus because we are just like them.
I love that Jesus claims to be “the Good Shepherd.” Good shepherds intimately know their sheep. They know them both by name and by their unique natures. Good shepherds know the individual needs of each of their sheep. They know the path to good pasture and water. They know the dangers to avoid, where the dangerous cliffs are and what to do when a wild animal or a thief shows up. The 23rd Psalm says the shepherd is with his sheep even when walking through the valley of the shadow of death.
The shepherd leads and the sheep follow. Think of all the times we reverse that order with Jesus. Leading and following are two different things. Following happens through obedience, going where the shepherd wants you to go, at the pace he wants to go and walking “after him” daily, not in front of him.
Nobody knows what will happen in 2020, except Jesus the Good Shepherd. So why in the world would we want to lead our own lives? This is the fundamental commitment that eludes many. Many want to be called by the name “Christian” but they keep on leading their own lives. The word “disciple” means follower or learner. Just like in the game “follow the leader,” there can only be one leader. Jesus is the Good Shepherd and he wants to lead you this year, but that can only happen if you quit leading.
Reflections: Are you committed to following after Jesus in 2020? Are you willing to daily say to Jesus, “not my will, but yours be done.” Are you ready to get out of the driver’s seat and let Jesus drive? Will you let him lead you to all the places he wants to take you in this new year?
If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me