“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. John 10:1-6 (NRSV)
The theme this week in my devotional book is "Listening to Jesus." This is based on last Sunday's passage on the Transfiguration. As we move through Lent, we continue to guided by the voice of Jesus and we examine our relationship with God, ourselves, and with each other. On this first day after Ash Wednesday, it is very comforting to hear these words of Jesus from John's gospel where we are reminded that Jesus is the one who guides us in our lives. If we try and do things ourselves, we will not do nearly as well as when we listen to our shepherd.
Yet when we pray (and I am certainly guilty of this myself!) we tend to go to God with a list of things we want God to do for us (the image of a Cosmic Santa often comes to mind) instead of us just shutting up and listening to God. Or we tend to think of our walk with God as being something where we have to constantly be DOING SOMETHING!!!!! I think the point of Lent is for us to shut our logical minds off long enough to allow the "still, small voice" of God to penetrate the very core of our being long enough to truly get in and work on us instead of us "working" on God.
I pray continued blessings to you this Lenten season.