Wednesday, April 18, 2018

"I am Not the Gatekeeper"

John 10.7, 16 KJV 

“Then said Jesus unto them again, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.’

‘And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.’ ”

The church of Jesus Christ is broad and far reaching. It spans all limitations of time and space. Christians appear in every generation and nation on earth. They come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Not every follower of Christ looks like you. Don’t worry about how they look, sound, smell, or think. Do not trust your initial impressions. Accept one who acknowledges Jesus as your brother or sister without judgment. You are not the entry point for salvation. Jesus is. He is the gatekeeper, the one and only “door of the sheep.”

I used to attend a weekly 12-Step meeting. After each meeting, three of us would meet for coffee at a local café. Our men’s small group was tight and characterized by free and honest discussion. We grew to trust each other. One evening, another gentleman joined us at the invitation of one of the other two guys. It was never said, but I presumed it to be understood that, while our little group may not have been closed in a strict sense, attendance would be by permission only. I was never consulted. I acted polite but secretly resented this intrusion into our established clique. I was agitated by the newcomer’s failure to comprehend our well developed small group dynamics. He had the gall to act as if he was fully accepted without the customary relationship trial period. The man behaved like he’d known us forever… he was friendly, jovial, and belted our a hearty (irritatingly loud) laugh. He tended to monopolize conversations, in my opinion. I became angry and a little sullen. My “support” group had thoughtlessly abandoned me and changed directions without my consent.

As the weeks went on “Joe” became a regular and I begrudgingly accepted his presence as a foregone conclusion. That was many years ago. There is a moral to this story... today I cannot remember the names of the original members of my so-called “support group.” I can’t even remember what they looked like. It was fun and beneficial while it lasted but... it didn’t last. Not many things do. One relationship continues, however. “Joe” and I are still great friends. Imagine that! If I had designed the group and kept control the people whom I would allow influence in my life, this fine man would never have been inducted. Also, I would be a lesser man. “Joe” became my lifelong friend.

I have no business deciding who should be “in” or “out” of my life. That’s Christ’s job. He’s the gatekeeper, not me. Jesus is the “shepherd”of the “fold.” He alone decides who should be in our out. I am much more exclusive than God. Jesus is “door of the sheep” and His door is always open.  

“I am the door of the sheep.”

“And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring,
and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”

The black and white photo of the sheep at the door is used by permission of photographer Andy Farrell of Liverpool, England ( I love this picture! It fits perfectly with the “I am the door of the sheep” theme.

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