Sunday, May 7, 2017

But wait...there's more!

"Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,
as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has driven out all his own,
he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,
because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers."
Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.

So Jesus said again, "Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.

John 10: 1-10

The sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. But God does not yell at us. He does not scream. He does not raise his voice. God speaks to us through a still, small voice. Knowing this, the evil one has filled our lives with as much noise and distraction as possible. There are a million different things vying for our attention.
Turn on any television. The average thirty minute program is less than twenty-two minutes long. What fills the remainder of the time? Advertisements. Advertisements that tell you what to eat, what to watch, how to look, how to smell, how to act, and even how to think. You cannot open a paper or a magazine or even drive down the road without being inundated by advertisements all trying to manipulate you into buying that one thing that will make you truly happy. And yet, this generation has the lowest happiness level ever. How can this be?
We have forgotten what true happiness really is. A good working definition of happiness is the feeling you get when an expectation is met. We are really happy when an expectation is exceeded. There is such a level of unhappiness in the world these days because our expectations are not being met. We buy the latest weight loss product but we don’t lose weight. We are unhappy. We buy the latest fashion hoping to be noticed and we are unhappy when we aren’t. We buy the coolest car or the latest phone or the newest gizmo looking for satisfaction but satisfaction is fleeting. And now the biggest trend in this manipulation of thought is with prescription drugs. There seems to be a pill to cure anything that ails us. Do you want beautiful skin? There is a pill for that. Do you want to lose all of that stubborn belly fat? There is a pill for that. Want to re-grow all of that hair you have lost? Yup, there is a pill for that too.
The devil did not start by filling our lives with noise. A truly happy person does not go out looking for something to make them happy. The devil started by changing our expectations. Not all at once, but slowly over time. He capitalized on the pride, vanity, greed, and laziness that are all part of our fallen nature to change our expectations from something real to something unattainable. Once expectations are unattainable happiness is unattainable. Once happiness is unattainable misery and grief fill the void where love once lived.
The devil is a thief, a robber, and a liar. Do not be deceived by him. His way leads to misery and grief. Follow the Shepherd instead. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In him expectations are exceeded past anything you thought possible. But he will not yell and scream at you to get your attention. His sheep know his voice and know to follow him. Make the time to turn off the distractions of the day. Shut down the screens, turn off the noise. Listen for that still, small voice calling you to have life and to have it more abundantly. Real happiness does not come from having more stuff. It comes from recognizing more of God’s infinite love poured out in your life.
If today you hear the voice of the Lord harden not your heart.

No comments:

Post a Comment