whether they care enough about you to die for you. Before you let that boy-friend pull you away from Jesus, ask yourself: “Is he willing to die for me?” Before you sac-rifice your faith for your career: “Is it going to die for me?” Before you let that sport suck up your time and your money and your life: “Is it going to die for me?” If the answer is, “No!” I’d stick with Jesus! Every other shepherd, every other voice, every other influence in life is trying to get whatever it can out of you. Except Jesus. He came to give. He came to give his life for us and our sins.
Listen to how Jesus talks about his death: “The reason the Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.” As Jesus suf-fered and died and rose for us, who was in control? Jesus was! He did it all willingly. He was perfectly in control, even in death. Do you think Jesus is in control of your life too? Je-sus isn’t just with us. He’s not just guiding us. He didn’t just die for us. All authority in heaven and on earth are in his hand, and this Good Shepherd is the one controlling your life and our world.
King David got this! Here’s what he said, trusting in his Shepherd: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). How can I be afraid? How can you be worried? Jesus told us to be lights in a dark world. What’s different about Christians? What shines? Hopefully it’s the peace you have in the midst of strife. It’s your contentment even when you don’t get your way. It’s faith in the face of death. It’s joy to be a sheep of the Good Shepherd. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” If you live like that, your light will shine!
That’s just what Jesus wants! “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” There’s more sheep who need to hear Jesus’ voice! We just got the most recent demographics of our area. Do you know what percentage of people within five miles of our church are not active in any religious organization? 61%. When I say that to older people, they seem very surprised. “Isn’t everyone Christians?” No. When I say that to younger peo-ple, they are not surprised at all: “I hardly know anyone who goes to church!” What are we about? Making disciples of Jesus. Teaching people to love to hear Jesus’ voice!
So what are we really teaching people to be? Sheep. “I just wanna be a sheep!” I hope you can say that! Life isn’t about stuff. Life isn’t about success. Life isn’t about promo-tions. Life isn’t about being strong or independent, because nobody is. Everyone in life is following someone. Whom are you going to follow? There’s only one Good Shepherd. “We all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). If you could choose any animal, what animal would you want to be? I just wanna be a sheep. Influenced by Jesus’ voice. Dependent on Jesus’ grace. Saved by Jesus’ death. I just wanna be a sheep. There is nothing better!