Hearing the Master's VoiceA Story:

Every summer as a young boy, my family and I would visit my grandparents in Tennessee.  It was my favorite place to go.

Papa, my grandfather, was a farmer.  He farmed a lot of cotton, and corn.  But he also raised a few pigs and several head of cattle.  One of my favorite things to do when visiting Mama and Papa was to help Papa with some of his daily chores: chopping cotton, working in the gardens, feeding the chickens.  Each evening, Papa would go to the barn, into the corn crib and fill a bucket full of ears of corn he had shucked.  He would then take that bucket of corn to the edge of barnyard and get ready to feed his cows.  It was always interesting to watch him.

The cattle would be grazing way out in the fields, what seemed like hundreds of yards away.  Then Papa began calling them in.  What was so amazing to me as a young boy was watching how the cows responded to Papa’s voice.  They would all come running when they heard his call.

I was eager to give such a fascinating act a try.  So, the next day I decided I would surprise Papa by feeding the cattle for him, before he got there at his usual time.  I gathered the corn in the bucket, just as Papa did.  I went to Papa’s “calling spot,” just as he did.  I looked out into the fields to see if the cows were in sight.  They were.

I then took a deep breath and let out my best impression of Papa’s special call.  I waited.

No cows came…they didn’t even move.  They simply stood there, looking at me.

I tried again.

Nothing.

About the time of my third attempt, Papa came to feed them and saw what a terrible job I was doing.  With a chuckle, he let out his call…and the cattle came running.

Why didn’t they come when I called?  I did my very best to sound just like Papa, so what went wrong?

The answer can be found in Jesus’ story of the shepherd and his sheep (John 10).  The sheep, says Jesus, listen only to the voice of their master.  It’s also true with cows, as I discovered.

Do we, like sheep and cows, listen only to the voice of our Master?  Or do we heed the voices of those who try to sound like our Master?  The Good Shepherd calls his flock by name.  He leads them in the way they should go.  But what about us?  Will we listen only to/for the voice our our Master?  Or will we follow some cheap imitation?

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