Today is Memorial Day. What is the time honored way we speak of the occasion (see A Memorial Day Devotion for Christians)? Don’t we say that today is the day we remember the sacrifices of our honored dead? And why? There are so many who cannot help but remember and mourn.
Why so many pointless wars? The Bible calls us sheep, stupid little beasts in need of The Good Shepherd. Fighting sheep? So it would seem. We are sheep led to shear and slaughter each other. Instead of hearing His voice and following Him, too many of us chase idols, gods of our own making. Instead of following the voice of The Good Shepherd, we idolize stuff, sex, self, and state.
- Stuff. Some sheep become lost in the glitter of possessions. They go into debt buying fancy cars, spacious and expensive houses, and pretty trinkets of all kinds, or they measure their own worth and the worth of others by the size of their stacks their gold. (Luke 12:13-21)
- Sex. Other sheep chase Will-o’-the-Wisps, momentary thrills. In a vain hope of filling the empty void within, they devour sex, drugs, and “experiences.” For the sake of transient pleasures, these sheep indifferently throw away both their own lives and the lives of others, even the lives of their lovers. (Judges 16)
- Self. The most foolish sheep care only for themselves. Filled with the need for self-glorification, they perceive only their own wishes and desires. Until it becomes a “Truth” that satisfies their wants and needs, these sheep willfully pervert every perception, every fact, every axiom of logic. (Isaiah 14:12-20)
- State. Many sheep compound their sins. These sheep turn their souls over to will of a mob. In return for empty promises and lies, they empower narcissistic leaders, giving such powers they have no right to have. In return for stuff, sex, and worthless flattery, these sheep make tyrants both their shepherds and their oppressors. And their pathetic excuse? It is what a child would say. “Everybody else is doing it.” (1 Samuel 8)
And so, we sacrifice each other and the love of our Creator for worthless stuff, meaningless sex, a haughty self, a treacherous state,…. for nothing good. Bereft of honor, unwilling to sacrifice any portion of our wants for the sake of virtue, we cannot be peaceable. “I” must have more stuff. “I” must be stimulated to greater heights. “I” must have “my” self-esteem raised to unsurpassed levels. And our government — our “honorable” leaders — must give “me” everything they have promised, no matter what the cost to someone else.
For the sake of our souls — for the sake of love and for peace — we must listen for the calming voice of The Good Shepherd.
John 10:1-18 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
10 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.
7 So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”