Wednesday, September 26, 2012
sheep at the gate...
This week's Bible verse:
"Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord." -- Psalm 89:15
They were standing over on the green hillside, shadowed by the changing leaves on the trees behind them. It made a pretty picture to see as I looked out my kitchen window on the farm that belonged to my family for so long...Those sheep and their lambs comfortably grazing and wandering around the browning pasture field. It was about feeding time, and my father opened the gate so they could make their way to the barn and their evening meal of hay and grain that supplemented their grass diets. As he walked to the gate, they saw him and recognized him and ran toward him. They charged through the gate and on into the barn where they crowded around the troughs that held their sustenance.
This picture of my father, the shepherd, and his sheep are forever in my mind and my heart, even though he has been gone for nearly 20 years. Every time I read a Bible verse about the shepherd and his sheep, I think of my sheep-raising family and the childhood I had growing up on the farm. I think that is why it's easier for me to understand those verses...why I understand Jesus the Shepherd and Jesus the gate.
That gate opened the field up to the barn and the nutrition that kept my father's sheep fed and healthy. The grass would provide food enough to keep them living, but my father gave them grain that provided nutrients that the fall grass couldn't provide any more. They were healthier because of the grain and it tasted good to them.
I think that's why God's word shows Jesus as the gate...the WAY to the healthy pleasing eternal life that can be ours THROUGH him.
In John 10:10 Jesus says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
We can survive on our own...on the "grass" that is readily available to us. But if we want a FULL life, a life full of blessings and nutrients that makes life worth living through the troubles and hard times, then we NEED Jesus in our lives! I know my life is so much better, broader and fuller because I run through the gate and get the sustenance God provides me through Jesus and his teachings. Do you see the gate in front of you? It's not keeping you out! It's providing you a way IN! RUN through it and see just how full your life can really be!