“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”
Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd." - John 10:1-16
Do you ever feel like you just wander through life, waiting for something to happen or just watching things happen around you? Do you feel like you’re lacking direction, purpose, a calling? Do you feel like you’re always moving – sometimes forward, sometimes back – but you’re not really going anywhere?
Unless they have a shepherd, sheep feel the same way. Without a shepherd, sheep just wander aimlessly – always moving, but never with a clear direction or purpose. Without a shepherd, sheep are unprotected – no one is there to watch over them, guide them, chase after them when they’re off track.
Just like sheep, we need a shepherd. That’s why Jesus came – to be our shepherd. He leads us into the unknown. He points the way when we’re not quite sure where to go. He puts up roadblocks when there’s danger ahead. He cares for us when we’re lost, hurting, or hopeless. And if we ever stray from him or his purpose for our lives, he chases after us relentlessly.
If you feel like you’re wandering today or just aren’t quite sure where to go next, remember that Jesus is there to point you back to the path he’s already laid out for you. He’ll lead you, guide you, and give you purpose. Follow his voice. When you have Jesus, you are never alone.
“Jesus, I am your sheep and you are my shepherd. As I try to figure out what’s next for me, as I wrestle through what my true purpose and calling is, guide me. Lead me. Help me find space in my life to hear your voice and give me the courage and confidence to follow your way.”
Our church is filled with people who help Jesus shepherd others’ lives. They’re called “Anthem Group Leaders.” Do you feel a call to be one, and lead a group? If you’ve been in a group at least once before and finished the Belong Track, you can apply HERE to lead one next term.