April 18th – John 10:22-30
The members of the civic group thought they would play a little joke on their new pastor who was joining their organization. When they had his name badge made, in the spot for vocation, they listed it as “hog caller”. When the pastor was formally introduced and welcomed into the club that’s how he was introduced – “hog caller”. Everyone had a good laugh. The pastor replied that most congregations referred to him as a “shepherd of the sheep”, but perhaps his new congregation knew themselves better than he did.
But maybe “hog caller” is not as far off as you may think. The word “steward” comes from an old English word which is made up of “sty” (a pen for pigs) and “weard” (a ward of the keeper). A steward took care of the lord of the manor’s pigs. When the steward returned the pigs to the manor lord, he had to account for his care of the animals or his stewardship.
There is no doubt that we are to be good stewards of the gifts entrusted to our care. But this passage gives me hope that even when I fail, I’m still a part of the flock not on the basis of my stewardship or lack thereof, but on the basis of the Good Shepherd’s. When we stand before God we are all on equal footing. We’ve no right to be there except that we’ve heard His voice and Jesus says he won’t let his sheep go.
Remember at Easter Jesus returned to his disheartened, half-believing, mostly unbelieving, disciples and broke down the doors which they cowered behind, and forgave them by offering them “Peace”. The risen Christ does the same for us. Easter is the first and last great promise that God will not let us go. He promised that nobody or nothing can snatch the sheep from his hand. Thanks be to God!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, the Great Shepherd of the sheep, we’ve heard your voice and have stepped forward to be a part of your flock. We didn’t do this because of who we are, but solely on the basis of who you are. We’ve heard your voice calling our names. Keep reaching out to us, who sometimes find it difficult to reach out to you. Keep loving us, who don’t always know how to return your love. Keep being the Shepherd of our souls. Amen.
Yours in Christ,