Autumn is one of the most important and enjoyable times of the year for a shepherd. Most of the lambs that he has brought into the world and cared for have been sold and he is preparing his ewes for next year’s crop.

One of the shepherd’s tasks at this time of year is the preparation of those ewes. They mustn’t be too fat or too thin as this reduces their ability to be productive.  Life for a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ can be a bit like that. If he or she fails to feed on the Word of God then they can become spiritually thin and conversely, if they overfeed on the distractions of the world around them then they can become overweight.

Some years ago, a research scientist recorded the heartbeat of sheep when they were stimulated by various sounds, one of which was the voice of the shepherd that cared for them. They found that heart beat increased significantly when they heard their shepherd’s voice. How appropriate then when we read in John 10:3,4: “…the sheep hear his [the shepherd’s], voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out… and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice”.

You see, just like the shepherd has to select animals to be in his flock, so God selects men and women to be in His flock; men and women who have responded to His voice. But, in order to find a place in God and Jesus’s flock we must pass the selection process. God has billions of men and women to choose from to make up His flock but if we wish to be in that flock we have to respond to His Word, the Bible. Jesus said that we have to believe and be baptised and once we have done that then we must respond to his voice and do his commandments so that when he returns, he might recognise us and ask us to join him in God’s Kingdom on earth.

Jesus’ return appears to be imminent when you look at what is taking place in Israel, a place that God promised to His people the Jews. If that is right, then there isn’t much time left to respond to the Shepherd’s voice.

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