Walking the path of love
Listen, recognise, and follow… Things can be that simple when you have the Good Shepherd who knows everyone and cares for everyone. Then the right path is self-explanatory.
The herd of sheep had been penned up for the night in a fenced area outside. In the morning the shepherd came, called his sheep, and opened the gate. “And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” These words from John 10: 4 were the basis of a divine service Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider conducted on 18 September 2022 in Iserlohn, Germany.
“The explanation of the example is clear,” he said. “Jesus Christ is the good shepherd, and the sheep represent the people, the believers. Jesus Himself explained this.”
“Today Jesus Christ is still the good shepherd, and He continues to call people.” And He does this in various ways.
- First, there is the call of election: the election to become a Christian, to become a child of God.
- But He also calls out to us in every divine service and tells us: “Listen, I have something to tell you.”
- Even in everyday life He speaks to us through the Holy Spirit and says: “Try doing it this way.”
Important is that we recognise this voice and follow it, the Chief Apostle said.
Jesus says that He will call us by name, the Chief Apostle continued. And that means:
- He knows us. He knows exactly who we are.
- each one of us has been called by God personally because of who we are. God says: “I have called you just as you are now, today, and here because I love you.”
- what He has to tell us is a very personal message: He looks at our soul, our situation, our life, our environment, and then He tells us something that fits exactly into our current situation.
“So what does He call?” The answer consists of three parts.
- “Come to Me, don’t stay where you are! Change your position, move on, change your perspective.” Because God does not want to change the world and fix all the problems, He wants to change you and me. He wants to deliver us from this world, and that is why we have to move.
- “Come out of the masses! Don’t allow yourself to be carried away by them.” Of course, we live in this world. But there always comes a point when we hear the call of Jesus and say to ourselves: “No, I won’t go along with that!”
- “Come with Me and walk the path of love.” There is no recipe for this, you have to decide anew each time and find your way. For many people this is unsettling. They would rather have a catalogue of rules. Those who walk the path of love can be sure that God will accept them.
And how can we recognise the voice of the Good Shepherd?
- What does this voice want from me? If we find that it promotes our fellowship with God and with one another, we can confidently say: “Indeed, this is the voice of God.”
- It corresponds to the nature of God. Behind it is the love of God. He does not want anything from me. In fact, He wants to give me something, He loves me.”
- There is no difference between His words and His deeds, everything coincides. That gives His voice a special power.
“Once we have recognised Him—yes, this is the voice of God, this is the Lord—we must follow Him. And that means that we do what He has told us to do.” Certainly: “He also tells us many things where we say: yes, but things were quite different in the past.” And: “Sometimes He calls us and we know exactly: if I do this now, things are going to be difficult for me.”
“Let us not attribute more importance to our opinions and our own words than to the teachings of Jesus,” the Chief Apostle appealed to the congregation. “Let us follow Him faithfully, even in adversity. Trust Him! He cares for you. You have already experienced His omnipotence and His love; you have recognised them. Follow the path!”