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Are you a ‘good sheep?’

In the gospel of John Jesus says “I am the good shepherd: The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” Many of the scriptures portray Jesus as a “good father” or “the good shepherd.” We know that his thoughts toward us are good thoughts, thoughts of peace, not of evil, and to give an expected end, but the question I have for you today is are you being a “good sheep”?
John chapter 10 talks more in depth about some questions that will help us determine whether we are being a “good sheep.” It notes that “my sheep hear my voice and know my voice and follows and trusts.” This reminds me of my dogs and their health over the past few years. I have one dog that is around 16 years old  and has lost his sight. He roams through the house day in and day out and the only thing that he has to go by is his memory and the sound of his master. He relies on my voice to alert him to danger. He hears my voice and he trusts me even though he cannot see me. Many people come to visit and speak to him, but he doesn’t know their voice as well as mine and he doesn’t always trust their command. However, he knows that I have always kept him on the right track and the trust is fully there. We also have another Miniature Schnauzer that is about 8 years old now and has suddenly lost his sight. He fully trusts the commands of my wife and is still learning to trust my commands. I am working on that trust with him. So, the questions is: How well do you know the Master’s voice? It appears that sometimes the noise of the world seems to drown out what the Master is saying in our life. But, God can pick out our voice and our prayer request as individuals; the Bible says he knew us before we were born and he knows the number of hairs on our head. God cares for each of us so much that he knows our voice and longs to hear us call out to him. But, how well do we hear him when he speaks. Are you being a ”good sheep”? This passage of scripture is describing the kind of relationship that Jesus wants with his followers. He leaves you with a few more questions to ask yourself about whether you are a good sheep or not. How well do you know Jesus? Are you the closest of friends or are you just passing acquaintances? Jesus gave his life for his sheep, would you be willing to do the same thing for him if the situation ever arose or would you deny him? Do you know him, love him, and trust him enough to follow his lead even if the result ended in death because of your faith. It appears to get tougher and tougher in the times we are living to be able to express our thoughts and opinions. Also, it seems that everyone is divided over everything. If people don’t believe what we believe they get blasted on social media and are considered horrible people. Everyone seems to be so divided during this pandemic, but I challenge you today…..are you being a “good sheep”? Are you willing to lay down your thoughts and opinions and follow God’s voice and guidance? Are you willing to lay down your social media, your smartphone, your thoughts and opinions and be a “good sheep” for the greater good and well-being of everyone during this time. All we need to do is seek God’s face and follow his voice, but we must really know him and be able to discern his voice during all the noise of our current times.
The scripture says follow him. Are we just following him when it’s convenient? Do you pray and talk to him only when in trouble, or is he your friend and do you talk to him in the good times and the bad times? Are you being a good sheep? When you see others doing wrong are you praying for them? When your pastors and leadership are making tough decisions in the church are you judging them or are you praying for them? Are you being a “good sheep”? We are Blessed with a Good Shepherd who loves, protects, and cares for us. The least we can do is make his job a little easier and be a “good sheep.” Are you being a “good sheep” in a time that matters most? I challenge you to look deep down and walk closer with God during this time than you ever have before. The world would love nothing more than to see Christians divided. That’s the only way they can defeat us, is to divide us. We must stick together during these tough times and lay our opinions and differences aside and follow the good shepherd.  So, I leave you with this tough question to ask yourself in the days ahead. ARE YOU BEING A GOOD SHEEP? We all have some work to do in this area. Make a difference this week.
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton, and his associate, David Odom.)