IS ANYTHING STEALING YOUR LIFE AWAY?
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.” (John 10:10-16)
Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd and says that he is so invested in caring for the sheep that he lays down his life for the sheep. And yes, we are the sheep he is offering to guide, protect, lead to green pastures and still waters, anoint, prepare a table for (even in the presence of our enemies), and guard and comfort as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death (see Psalm 23). The Good Shepherd’s work is all designed to bring us life... abundant life!
Jesus says there are also thieves and hired hands (and wolves) who are not nearly as invested in the lives of the sheep. In fact, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10a)
This led to me reflecting on the things that can “steal” away our abundant life with God. Is there anything right now that is stealing your life away?
Is being so busy that you don’t have time to pray or sit by still waters stealing your life away?
Is blaming others - and not taking responsibility for your own life - stealing your life away?
Is the obsession with acquiring material things stealing your life away?
Is wanting to be right... at all costs... stealing your life away?
Is your concern with being safe and/or comfortable stealing your life away?
Is concern for your image - physically or professionally - stealing your life away?
Is being hard on yourself... not loving yourself as God loves you... stealing your life away?
Is something else stealing your life away?
If so, there is a balm in Gilead... there is a Good Shepherd to whom you can turn, who wants to lead you to an abundant life of loving relationships, gracious provision, and deep presence in the midst of fear, challenges, and even dying.
Rejoice, and be glad! There is a Good Shepherd who lays down his life for you. All that is necessary is for you to listen for and respond to His voice.