It can be difficult to maintain a heavenly mindset while living in a finite world, bound by time and expectations.
That’s kind of my biggest fear – that I won’t learn what God is trying to teach me so the season will drag on and on. That’s the thing about our Good Shepherd… He’s not just leading us. He’s teaching us as we go. And He is deeply invested in our education.
I once heard someone say that God wants to be more of a tour guide than an uber driver, and that made so much sense to me. Think about it – when we take an uber or a cab somewhere, we hop in the backseat and usually sit in silence, probably on our phones tracking the trip or texting our friends that we’re running late (that last part might just be me).
But a few years ago, I had the opportunity to go on an African Safari… Okay, fine. It was the African Safari ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, FL, but it’s the closest I’ve ever been to the Serengeti, so leave me alone… unless you’re offering to take me to the Serengeti, in which case, my email address is on the website.
Our Good Shepherd is not just leading us to the right destination.
He’s teaching us as we go.
Anyway, I was on this ride, which included a tour guide. As we navigated through the “African” terrain, she told us what to watch for, where to look, and even gave us details about the animals. All of this made the drive so much more engaging. I saw things I would have otherwise missed, and I learned things that I wouldn’t have ever learned on my own.
A few things to note about this excursion: I went expecting to see something exciting. I kept my eyes wide open, searching for what the guide was talking about. I stood in line for an hour, but never complained because I knew it was going to be worth the wait.
So what is the moral of this story? If we view life from the perspective of a tourist, we just might find ourselves enjoying the scenery a lot more than we are now.
If we view life from the perspective of a tourist, we just might find ourselves enjoying the scenery a lot more than we are now.
The thing about the tour guide is that she was good at being a tour guide. She anticipated questions and answered them before we could ask. We were tooling around in a Jeep, and at one point we hit some terrain that was both rough and watery. The tour guide was quick to put our minds at ease: “Your Jeep at home would probably get stuck in this, but this Jeep is equipped to handle it. We might get a little muddy, but we’ll make it to the other side of this.”
She was good at her job.
Jesus is good at His job, too. He’s the Good Shepherd. I’ve always associated “good” in this context with Him being kind, caring, loving, and valiant: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11 NIV)”
But put the word “good” in front of any other profession and that meaning doesn’t hold up. Example: Joe Burrow is a good quarterback (it’s football season and I live in Cincinnati…). I’m not talking about his heart; I’m commenting on his skill. He’s good at his job, and Cincinnati is grateful for that.
Jesus is really, really good at His job; we can trust Him.
Jesus is good at being our shepherd. Really, really good.
He’s still kind and caring – that context stands. In fact, just one verse later, we see a contrast that illustrates the kindness of our Good Shepherd. Take a look at John 10:12-13 in the NIV:
12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
This describes the man who’s in it for the paycheck – the uber driver of this passage. He’s not invested. He’s just showing up to do a job. But the moment trouble shows up? He’s out.
Contrast that with the Good Shepherd. He has stock in this relationship; He won’t bow out at the first sign of trouble. He died for this relationship – nothing scares Him now.
The Good Shepherd is good to us and He is good for us. And He’s really, really good at His job.
Jesus died for this relationship – nothing scares Him now.