Tuesday, August 26, 2014

John 10:9-11 -- Discipleship and Emulating the Good Shepherd

"'I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.'"
 ~ John 10: 9-11 (NRSV)

Jesus Christ is the only way (the gate or door) into the divine sheepfold of heaven, our eternal destination. Our Lord gathers up the initial flock (Israelites) and those who were not initially included (gentiles). Jesus, as the good shepherd, sacrifices Himself for the love of His flock by wilfully accepting the brutality of the cross for us. We, in turn, must willfully accept the difficult cross of discipleship and live lives of faith in Christ. Our faith, however, must reflect the active love of The Good Shepherd. True discipleship means actively emulating Jesus in our day-to-day lives.  We are called, for instance, to live lives of self-sacrifice and service to others.

How do we live lives of service and self-sacrifice in a self-serving world? In what ways are we called to live out our discipleship and model Christ for others? Although some are called to be missionaries in foreign lands or devote their lives to caring for the sick and poor, many are called to the mission fields of everyday living. Simple, honest love comes in many forms:  
  • Spending a few extra minutes telling your spouse and children that you love them.  
  • Turning to a neighbor and saying hello instead of walking by. 
  • Letting our co-workers know we appreciate them by saying "thank you" and giving honest praise for something they did. 
  • Volunteering to do an extra task at work in order to give our co-workers a break.
  • Being a loving parent, spouse, and family member in the home. 
  • Praying for people in need.
We are called to be kind to all we meet, even the rude, offensive person. When we love one another, our discipleship will shine and, through us, God's light will radiate to others (John 13:35).