Summary: Listening to the voice of Jesus.
By: Rev. Kenneth Emerson Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
Voices, voices. There are voices all around us.
I was in the drugstore last week when I glanced down at the magazine rack in the check out line.
I believe the paper is called “The Globe.”
On the front page in big black letters was the headline: “Woman has Talking Cat”.
I had to laugh.
I mentioned to the cashier, “My, someone has a talking cat! Imagine that!”
She laughed too.
My brother-in-law, was in a play this year at Duke entitled “Bat-Boy”.
The writer got the idea from this very same tabloid that had featured a supposed half bat/half boy on the cover.
300 pound babies with two heads…
…aliens invade the White House…
…Elvis has been dining at various McDonalds for the past 30 years…
…JFK is still alive…
…Woman gives birth to twin monkeys…
…and it goes on and on each week.
If we were to believe all these stories we would be completely insane!!!
And maybe we are.
I remember back in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s when the first tabloid news show exploded onto the scene.
Maury Povich was the host, and each night they would try and scare Americans into thinking that Unidentified Flying Objects were making circles by landing in cornfields.
I wonder how many folks still believe this is true.
I don’t think the tabloids covered the real story…that it was all a practical joke.
…there are so many voices…
Jeanne and I were staying at a hotel for Annual Conference about 5 years ago, when we came upon a new 24 hour news channel that was so much like a tabloid…I never thought it would actually float.
Now it gets higher ratings than CNN!!!…
…and it makes a big impact on the way it’s viewers see and understand the world…
…what voices are you listening to, what voices am I listening to?
The voices that we listen to and believe can have a heavy impact on our lives.
For instance, if we were to believe all the insults and mean jokes that the bully’s on the schoolyard threw at us…well…we would all be completely broken by the time we were 13…
…and maybe some of us are.
How about the voices from parents who neglect their children…or abuse their children through their words?
What about the voices we hear on the television?
Do we believe them?
Is it really true that we need to start worrying about our age before we reach thirty?
Is it true that, if we are balding, no woman worth her salt will be attracted to us unless we join the hair club for men?
Is it true that a few flakes of dandruff on a shoulder will cause someone to ‘not want to have anything to do with us’?
…There are so many voices…maybe now more than ever.
What voices do we choose to listen to and believe…
…what voices do we know are false?
Our very self-worth and abilities to be the best we can be may very well depend on how we answer that single question.
In our Gospel Lesson for this morning Jesus talks to us about voices.
He tells us that there are lots of voices…but only one True Voice…and like sheep who know their Master’s voice…
…if we are to have life and have it to the full…
…we must know the which Voice to follow.
Do we know?
Sometimes it’s hard to know which voice comes from the One Who loves and cares for us…the One Who is True…
…and all the other voices which come from the thieves, the robbers, the strangers.
I remember, as a youngster, my mother taught us…
… “Never get into a car with a stranger!”
Very good advice indeed!
Now that many of us are adults, how many of us are still following that ‘good advice’?
Jesus, the Good Shepherd tells us: “the sheep listen to [my voice]. [I] call [my own] sheep by name and lead them out…they will never follow a stranger.”
Obviously, in this lesson, we are the sheep!
Do we know the voice of Jesus?
Are we listening to the Good Shepherd?
For, “the thief comes only to kill and destroy”, but Jesus has come that we may have life and have it to the full!
A friend of mine took some children to visit a farm.
The farmer allowed the children to run and play.
My friend was particularly taken by the farmer’s sheep.
“It’s about time to feed the sheep,” the farmer told my friend.
“I’m gonna call them in.”
Remembering this passage of Scripture, my friend asked the farmer if his sheep listen to his voice.