Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Old Rugged Cross"1 (Lyrics)
John 10:27 – My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (ESV)
The nightstand clock confirmed that it was 2 a.m., yet sleep was nowhere in sight. Completely exhausted, I found myself resorting to counting imaginary sheep. One, two, … ninety-eight, ninety-nine. Then, just before reaching one hundred, God's voice called out my name from the shadows, asking, "If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?" (Matthew 18:12 ESV) I answered, "Yes." Then, I glanced to see if my husband was hearing God, but he was fast asleep.
Again, God called out my name. He asked me to share the parable of the lost sheep with our son, who was visiting, and tell him that "the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." (Luke 19:10 ESV)
For the rest of the night, I tossed and turned, as Satan fought to convince me that it was all just a dream. How foolish I would appear to both my son and husband if I followed through with God's request. I wondered whether God was testing me to see if I would obey Him.
By morning, the weather report was not promising. A snowstorm was moving in, so my husband hurried to load our car and get our son back to college safely. I felt the Holy Spirit stirring, and I knew that it was time. Scripture tells us, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourself. Do what it says." (James 1:22 NIV)
For years, our eldest had been convinced that he was far too lost ever to be saved, least of all, forgiven. Hearing the message about Jesus, the Good Shepherd, leaving the other ninety-nine sheep and seeking everywhere for the lost sheep, brought him to tears!
Only a couple of hours after my husband and son left to drive our son back, an oncoming driver lost control of his vehicle and hit them head-on! Miraculously, everyone in that accident survived! Thanks be to God! But what if I hadn't shared with my son and he hadn't survived? I am at peace because I obeyed God's call and planted the seed.
Friends, if you have answered God's primary call and are in a personal relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ, are you using the spiritual gifts that He has supplied to share the gospel? God will not be able to utilize us in the genuine callings that He has designed for our lives if we are not fully obedient to the precise commandments and leadings of the Holy Spirit.
It is important for us to listen to God's Word, but it is even more crucial for us to do what it says.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for seeking us out when we are lost, and for sending Your perfect Lamb, Jesus, to die for our sins. May we be passionate about bringing Your lost sheep into Your kingdom. Amen.