Do you ever wonder if you are missing something in your Christian faith?
A lady says, “Some of my Christian friends tell about their glorious experiences with the Lord. I have few if any of these experiences. Am I missing something?”
Today’s text (John 10:1-10) talks about Jesus presenting Himself as a shepherd. “The Shepherd calls his own sheep by name. He walks on ahead of them and his sheep follow him. They follow him because they know his voice. Other shepherds call the sheep but they will not follow a stranger’s voice, in fact they will run away from him because they do not know the voice.”
Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what He was telling them. Let’s see what Christ is telling us through the parable.
This parable teaches us that Jesus wants a personal relationship with us. He tells us that He has given His life for us and by trusting Him as our Savior we will live with Him forever. But He also walks with us in this life. The experiences of the Christian life come through this personal relationship. If we do not have such a relationship with our Lord, there is something missing in our life now.
There are many of us who do not know what it means to have this daily walk with our Lord. Life can be tough. Trusting Christ does not mean that we will escape these tough times but it does mean that He will stand by your side in those hours. To assure us of His presence Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Did you notice His words in our text for coming to this earth? “I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” How often our lives can be burdened with sorrows and we carry them alone. Christ wants to share them with us.
Let me tell you the background of the great old gospel song, What a friend we have in Jesus. It was written by Joseph Scriven, a young man who lived in Ireland.
George Beverly Shea writes in his book, How Sweet the Sound, the circumstances under which Scriven wrote this hymn. He was about to be married. The night before the wedding his bride-to-be was accidentally drowned. Later, Scriven moved to Canada. Again his wedding plans ended when his fianc became ill and died. In Port Hope, Ontario, a monument was erected in tribute to Joseph Scriven, the Irish immigrant who was a friend to many and who found a friend in Jesus.
Then Shea also told of this wonderful experience he had at a prayer breakfast in Washington. “That year many of the House and Senate came together for a combined prayer breakfast. The national leaders gathered with the President to pray, to seek God’s guidance, and to express their dependence on Him. I remember staying in a Washington hotel in 1954 and attending the prayer breakfast. I was sitting next to Russel Hitt. He asked me if I was singing that morning. ÔOh no, Rus, I’m here to listen.’ We ate bacon and eggs and toast.”
“Before long I felt a hand on my shoulder. The man said, ÔMy friend, would you come up with me and sing President Eisenhower’s favorite hymn, What a friend we have in Jesus?'”
“Now what was I going to do? I had just finished eating soft eggs. In almost the next minute I was at the microphone, saying to the audience, ÔIf you would like to join, please do.'”
“The next day, back home in Illinois, I turned on the Today Show and was so surprised to see the President standing next to me singing along with all of us.”
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.
Listen to the 2nd and 3rd stanzas of this same hymn.
Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged,
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Think of it! Only 57 years ago. Could it be done today Ð The President and members of Congress standing before the nation, singing the words of this hymn? I doubt it.
Are the leaders in government missing something? I know they are.
I pray we will not cheat ourselves of great blessings by ignoring our greatest friend, the Lord Jesus.