The Shepherd's voice
The Shepherd's voice
In the past two months, we’ve had problems with Benjamin sometimes being quite mean to his younger sister. We’ve witnessed cutting comments, little physical assertions and callous selfishness. When confronted, Ben turns into a bristling porcupine, quills aimed right at us. What on earth has happened to our sweet, sensitive, gentle child who used to want to protect everything and everybody? If this is a “stage,” as others have suggested, I don’t like it one bit and I can’t wait to move on!
But for now, we have to deal with it, and part of our response includes praying that God would convict Ben of his wrongdoing and give him a servant-hearted love for Jess. For that to happen, Ben will have to learn to be attentive to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Now, I don’t know about you, but I sure am more inclined to obey someone I know and love rather than a stranger. So one strategy we’re working on is to deepen this kid’s relationship with his Creator.
- Dear God, please help me to listen to Your voice when You speak to me. Amen.
- Dear God, thank you that You are my Shepherd. Please help me to be like a sheep who knows Your voice. Amen.
Combined with the Bible story called “Knowing the Shepherd – Jesus,” these set the foundation for a teaching time. From the first question, we had both kids’ complete attention. “If Aunt Helga or Uncle Dave or Oma or Opa walked in the door and called ‘Hello!’ would you know who it was before you saw them?” “Of course!” came the happy chorus. We had fun talking about that for a bit – how people’s voices differ and how they become so familiar.
We then discussed pets and their owners. Both Ben and Jess understood that many domestic animals obey only the voice of their primary caregivers. Rob talked about his cousin Richard who grew up on a farm. Each evening when it was time for the cows to come in from the pasture, Richard was sent to call them. He didn’t have to round them up. They simply knew his voice, loved him, and so, eagerly responded when he bid them come.
From there we piggybacked to shepherds and how several could come together and allow their flocks to mingle. The kids had no clue how each shepherd would be able to distinguish his own sheep from the larger, seemingly identical bunch. We explained how when it was time to move on, each boy would call in turn and only their animals would run to follow him. It was because the shepherd spent so much time with his flock that they came to know his voice so well.
And so it is with the best Shepherd ever. Jesus knows, loves and calls us. We need to spend time with Him to get to know His voice. The kids got the concept, but we could tell they didn’t have the tools yet to make it happen.