All day long, the faces on TV are talking. We’ve all got our favorites, they scratch a certain itch. They say the things we want them to say and we want more. Worse yet, we start to believe all that they say. The internet is buzzing with information. We have our bookmarked websites and check them daily, many of us getting our updates pushed to our phones for our enjoyment first thing in the morning. We read the headlines, but not the article because who really has time for that. Just a few words are all we need to understand what the author is trying convey, right? Can you feel your thoughts being pulled in a certain direction?
Social Media accounts are pinging with this alert and chiming with that alert. If you re-post that article
about that politician or that celebrity, someone will like it, maybe even comment on it. Feels good to
share information, doesn’t it… whether that information is beneficial to anyone or not. Wormwood1942 commented on your post agreeing with you, maybe you should add him as a friend…whether you actually know him or not. Soon after, his posts are in your feed due to the design of the algorithm. Can you hear him calling?
These are all vying for our attention and for the most part, we give it to them. I’m not saying these
things are all bad. When consumed properly they can be a vital part of our community and society.
Very good things can come from sharing information at the speed with which we are able to these days.
The problem is that it is so easy for us to get wrapped up in these circles of dialogue and to lose sight of
what is most important. We lose sight of the truth. We answer the call, but what (or whose) call are we
answering? The call we answer too often is loud but clear as mud: Our “news” comes to us 24 hrs a
day through push notification, our “friends” like the stuff we post and we should consider that
relationship, we should work 80 hrs a week at the expense of our family life and buy the house we can’t
really afford. Oh and here are all the meds we’ll need to take when we’re so stressed and overwhelmed
from trying to complete the above action items.
The good news is there is another call; a better call. Can you hear it? Go one step further: If you can
hear it, are you listening?
In John 10:1-18 (NIRV), Jesus tells the parable of the good shepherd and his
sheep to the Pharisees.
In this story we have sheep, a gatekeeper, a stranger, a hired hand and
ultimately a good shepherd. Imagine all the sheep in a large sheep pen or something, I don’t know
where sheep gather. But they’re all mixed up together. Then you have the hired hand. He’s there to
watch over us while we wait for our shepherd to return. (I don’t know who hired the guy in this story,
but he’s a wimp. He runs when he sees trouble coming. He takes off and leaves us to be devoured at the
first sign of trouble.)
Anyhow, sheep are to be trained in knowing their shepherd’s call, and when he sounds that call they are
supposed to respond. The problem is there is also a stranger who calls out. This stranger’s call is loud
and enticing, crafted by El Diablo himself. He confuses the sheep and they scatter, or at least they are
supposed to. In actuality, the sheep respond to his call; all the while not hearing (or not listening to) the
call of their own good shepherd. If you hadn’t figured it out, we are the sheep. Yes, the sheep.
To bring this home, take a look at your daily calendar. This is where we formalize our response to the
call we are listening to. Whose call are you answering? The more you respond to the stranger’s call, the
more you don’t hear your good shepherd’s call. You become confused as to who you are (identity),
what you’re supposed to be doing (purpose), and you have no means of completing your mission (plan).
Soon you’ll be thinking you’re an aardvark or a hippo, simply because the stranger is constantly pointing
you in that direction. Always, that direction is away from the good shepherd. Always, that direction is
the antithesis of the truth.
“Then he said to all of them, whoever wants to follow me must deny themselves. They must pick up
their cross every day and follow me.” (Luke 9:23 NIRV) This is my life verse, simply because Luke’s
gospel adds the phrase “every day” where other gospels leave that out. He doesn’t say to pick up their
cross “only on Sunday morning” or “When things get tough”. As men and leaders of our families, we
must be answering this call on a daily basis. Whatever our schedules look like, this must be a priority.
Some days it will be 5-10 minutes of prayer time, that’s ok. Other days you’ll find God allows time for
you to read His word and meditate on what he’s trying to show you. If we don’t fill our hearts and
minds with the word of God, what are we doing besides answering the call of the “stranger”.
Also, who is your hired hand? Is it someone that’s going to run when the ^%!@ hits the fan? Is it
someone that you can talk with for hours about sports or politics, but you can’t talk about how you’re
struggling as a father, or failing as a son, a brother or husband? Or do you have someone you can talk to
about the real stuff; someone you can call and they’ll show up at a moment’s notice when you most
need them. We need men in our lives that are walking the same walk we are. Men that are also
answering the call of the good shepherd.
Let’s face it, we are all struggling to answer the call of our good shepherd, but we’ve heard it and we
know we should be answering it.
My question for you is are you listening to the good shepherd’s call? How can you answer yes to that if
you’re not actively and routinely seeking out His word and spending time in prayer with the Almighty
Creator of the Universe?
Kick the Devil in his nutsack, turn around and answer the call of the good shepherd.
Men, this is a call to action. Are you listening?
Kevin Callaway 2021