So about two weeks ago was the Thanksgiving holiday. In my opinion, Thanksgiving is one of the best days of the year because you can eat with reckless abandon all in the name of thankfulness! In fact it is and insult to the cooks if you do not try some of everything.
So I did my best on Thursday to eat my fill at both places I went that day. For lunch, we went to my in-laws house. We enjoyed a ham, corn-casserole, green-bean casserole, and my wife’s made from scratch cornbread dressing, hot rolls, sweet tea and two types of pies for dessert. Around five o’clock, we headed to my parents house for round two. My almost 90-year-old grandmother was staying with my parents this week and she and my mom got a little carried away cooking. There we had a hot from the oven turkey, spiral sliced ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, Jell-O salad, pink salad, corn, rolls and choice of beverage. For dessert we had apple pie, pumpkin pie, banana bread and pumpkin bread. (For the record, I ran out of room for dessert…)
My question is this: after reading all that, do you feel satisfied and full, as if you were there? No you don’t, because you had to be there.
Following Jesus can be like this at times. Ronnie’s second point Sunday was that “following Christ means seeking the shepherd, not watching the sheep.” I took this a little differently than maybe it was intended but the point here is valid. There is a wealth of Christian material out there that we can use to learn about God. There are amazing pastors that have a heart for teaching and I love to learn from them. There are amazingly talented singers and musicians that can stir our souls with their lyrics and harmonies. There are books that are thought provoking and profound. There are conferences you can attend and teachers you can follow. But much like my describing my Thanksgiving meal doesn’t fill you up, these things above are no substitute for sitting at the feet of Jesus in prayer and digging into the Word on our own.
Sometimes I think we are too busy ‘watching the sheep’ to hear from the Shepherd. Understand, there is nothing wrong with any of these things as tools to help you on your Christian walk, but used to the exclusion of a personal time with the Savior, they are hollow and empty.
Jesus told us to follow Him. At times this is difficult. Sometimes it is hard to see things that are applicable to my situation when I read the Bible. That doesn’t mean they aren’t there. It just means I need to dig a little deeper, pray a little harder and wait for the Lord to speak to me. I have never been disappointed in seeking God this way.
I would encourage you to make sure you are spending time with the One that all the books and music and sermons are about. Allow Him to speak to you directly and be amazed at the sound of His voice.
Now if you will excuse me, I have to go get something to eat, all that talk about food really made me hungry!
Father, give us a hunger and a desire for the real thing, for You. Create a thirst in us for your voice and for your leading. Remove all the distractions that would hinder us from hearing your voice. Help us to walk obediently with you and to follow your leading as the Good Shepherd. In Jesus Name, Amen.