Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
In Part 1, I mentioned that, during a visit to Los Angeles with my wife, one of our friends insisted in paying for the meal at a restaurant—he said, “We’re rich indeed”. He didn’t mean that he had a lot of money; he was referring to his experience in life. It doesn’t depend on your bank balance—I’m talking about something else.
In the Bible in John 10:10 – TLB, Jesus was talking about sheep and their shepherd. Thieves in New Testament time used to steal the sheep—and that’s why Jesus said:
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
In another translation that verse says it well: “A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of” (John 10:10 MSG).
The amazing message here is that Jesus can give any one of us a really good, exciting and worthwhile life. It doesn’t depend on your bank balance. Don’t let worry stop you from having a rich exciting life.
A poll was taken at the beginning of 2012 about the worries people had during the previous year. Let’s look at some of the worries the poll identified:
- We worry that we may not be important enough.
- We worry we may not be well off, or be social enough, or have a large circle of friends.
- Perhaps we don’t have enough people in our lives to actively get together with.
- Perhaps we don’t know how to get into other societies.
- Or maybe we are in the wrong society, full of people who are drug addicts, alcoholics, lazy, abusive, and negative – and we just can’t get out of this.
- We worry about how society will judge us, and how we live.
- As human beings, we often put our worries in how others perceive us. But God loves us just as we are. He knows the real you, even if others misunderstand you.
Whether we are obese, short, have acne or a disability, skinny, not muscular, whatever—we worry about how we look. Even if you are extremely attractive, you may be worrying about your appearance because you feel everyone will be looking at you. How we look at work, to our partner, on a first date, at church, in the mall—we look at ourselves often, sometimes being pleased and other times not. We believe that society judges us based on our appearance, and sometimes that results in spending excessive time making ourselves presentable.
But Jesus, our Good Shepherd, says: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10 – NLT)
The Environment and Society
There are earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, tornadoes and other natural disasters occurring. People have drawn away from religion. There is a great deal of violence in today’s society. We have been polluting our skies for decades. What is the impact of global warming, and how will it hurt our children. We turn on the news or listen to the radio in our cars and most of the topics are negative—shooting, murders, robbery, disease, disasters, bombings, suicide, etc.
Our Shepherd says: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 – NLT)
The Future – What About Tomorrow?
The unknown is a scary place. What will tomorrow hold for us? Will there be a tomorrow for us or is today it? Will we be in a life-changing accident or win the lotto? Will we lose our job or get a promotion? Will our child get into any more trouble? Will that one bill, which we are not wanting but anticipating, finally come in the mail? That is often our number one worry: What will tomorrow hold, if anything!
Our Shepherd says, “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” (Matthew 6:27 – NLT); and then: “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25 – NLT)
When you are listening to the voice of worry, you are not listening to the voice of the Shepherd. King David put it this way in Psalm 37:25 (NLT):
Once I was young, and now I am old.
Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned
or their children begging for bread.
So really, you don’t have to worry—you are rich, if you have a relationship with God. And the reason is because we belong to his flock. A shepherd does not have just one sheep but several—we are the flock of the Good Shepherd! Let’s depend on each other, and allow God to do his part in our lives.