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.
We have a new puppy at our house. He is super cute. But we learned very quickly that he needed a little training to keep him safe. We are working to help him learn simple verbal commands like sit, stay, no, off, and come. Most of the time he does pretty well. He still needs reprimands from time to time. During his training time, we have discovered that he listens far better to those who live in our home than he does to those who do not. This is for one simple reason. Ours are the voices he hears the most. They are the voices he knows he can trust. We are the ones who care for him.
There is a lot of truth in that for us, too. Just as our pup has learned to trust us and to trust our voices, God longs for us to trust Him, too. He wants us to know that we can trust His voice in our lives because he cares for us. He goes out before us and calls us to Him. We are safe in his care and we are able to flourish in His leading.
Let’s prepare our hearts and really listen for Him this week.