Surviving as a shepherd
John 10: 22-30
22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
Yesterday I wrote about the work and the identity of the shepherd. How is this possible to balance the two? There is a way through.
What is the most important thing for us all to know?
What is key for the survival as a shepherd?
What was important for Jesus?
Remember we are all shepherds responsible for caring and loving the people of God, in some way.
It is this, v29-30.
- Focus on your relationship with the Father.
“My Father”. Only the Messiah could say these words. This angered the Jews. It was an abomination to them. But it was true. The shepherd is not a lone ranger. There is a Father, my Father, Abba Father and we need to call on Him. Some have a greater relationship with the work than with the Father.
- Realise it is His work.
“Who has given them to me”. This is His work not mine. We hold it lightly. There are times when we need to lay it down and when we do even when we cannot understand what is going on the answer is ‘it is not my work but His.’
- The Father is greater than the work.
“Is greater than all”. The relationship and the knowledge of the Father is greater than any ministry you think you have. When it all becomes too much remember He is greater than this moment. Last night’s conversation with a minister went like this, “Listen, don’t resign this Sunday; hold on a little longer, God is a big God.” Someone may need to hear that today whatever capacity they serve in.
- The success and the disappointments are his.
“No one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand”. The disappointments are not mine. Whatever happens it is about Him. He is never in a crisis. No robber can sneak up and unknowingly steal from the Father. No one can take what is His. If all that you are and all that you possess is dedicated back to God then it is safe.
- There are times to stand up and declare who you are in God despite the consequence.
“I and the Father are one”. That did it. The statement of all statements. Jesus was saying ‘I am God’ and they knew it and it caused them to rise against him. But it is true. There are things that are true about you which need to be said:
I am a child of God
I am called
I am forgiven
I am courageous.
I am His.