Yes, Sara and I are reading my new devotional book together, and though it feels a bit weird, we are enjoying how God is freshening in our hearts those realities he’s been inviting us to embrace for over twenty-five years. This is from June 26, a reminder that following him is the only way to discover what our hearts long for most. We are so easily distracted by the manipulations of others or the lure of following another human rather than him. Following him is the way to fullness and the church he is gathering from all over the world.
I know that the closer you follow me the *lonelier it seems.
You even think at times that I abandoned you and you withdrew into your fears. But even there, I am with you, calling you outside of yourself to come into the freedom of being my child and to join your heart with others in my flock that live for no other.
You’ve been called arrogant, independent, and unsubmitted, not by those who knew my heart, but by those who wanted you to conform to their way of doing things. They can’t see my flock beyond their own way of organizing it. If you only knew how many people I have scattered all over the world, you would rejoice that you’re not alone.
Some of those live just down the block from you or work alongside you. I know that you don’t know them yet, but you do understand the passion that courses through their veins and their desire to connect with people who share it.
I am the shepherd of all my sheep and I am not only inviting you to follow me as an individual, I am gathering my flock together from the ends of the earth—not in human systems devouring your time and energy, but in the joy of healthy friendships.
No man will own it and no system will replicate what I am building between my people. Resist the temptation to follow models devised by men that will always fail.
They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
John 10:16 (NIV)
Taken from The Call of the Shepherd, a blog Wayne wrote in May of 2004 as if giving voice to Jesus’ heart for his church. You can read the whole thing here.
*Interestingly enough, I had this quote in my inbox yesterday from The Daily Dig about loneliness and the work of God on earth. Though I’m not feeling lonely these days, I know for others who have yet to connect with people who are leaning into the life of the Shepherd, there can be some lonely moments. Hopefully, this will encourage you. I love it. And I’m going to have to dig in and read The Brothers Karamazov someday. I have yet to do it.
Believe to the End
If everyone abandons you and even drives you away by force, then when you are left alone fall on the earth and kiss it, water it with your tears, and it will bring forth fruit even though no one has seen or heard you in your solitude. Believe to the end, even if all people went astray and you were left the only one faithful; bring your offering even then and praise God in your loneliness. And if two of you are gathered together – then there is a whole world, a world of living love. Embrace each other tenderly and praise God, for, if only in you two, his truth has been fulfilled.
Source: The Brothers Karamazov