“The thief comes in only to kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have in abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:10-11
When I was a little guy, I always hated the presence of a fence in the backyard. My parents were always telling me, “stay inside the fence” but deep down I always wanted to jump it and run. Now that I have my own children I find myself saying the exact same thing that my parents told me.
However, as I’ve grown older I have come to appreciate what a fence actually does. When you’re young, you always are looking for ways to “jump the fence” because you think life is more fun on the other side. However, if you stare at the fence too long, you miss out on just how great your backyard actually is. In many ways, the fence gives you the freedom to enjoy your backyard because it keeps danger out.
This verse comes in the middle of one of Jesus’ “I am statements” in John in which he is contrasting two types of shepherds. The first shepherd is dangerous because he is only concerned with himself and lets the sheep run wild. As you may know, sheep are not smart and they can easily get hurt. Later, Jesus describes Himself as the good shepherd and says that he came to give abundant life to his sheep because he cares for them.
Some see Christianity as a straight jacket that is only interested in sucking the fun out of life. However, these folks are only staring at the fence.
God gave us the Bible to help us understand how life works best. He gave it to us so that we might LIVE instead of jumping the fence and getting hit by a big Mac truck with a bulldog on the front (Patty anyone?). The Bible does have “do’s and don’ts” in it but they are given to protect us from the fence jumping tendencies in our hearts.
We know that we can trust Jesus as our shepherd because he laid down his life to protect and secure his children. Stop staring at the fence and turn around so you can enjoy all of the good things God has given you to enjoy. Life is not better “out there”…trust me.