This past week I emailed back and forth with a Spanish publisher regarding my book Grace of Giving. That's always fun and exciting. Just thinking about the new readers I will reach with this message of generosity makes me jump for joy.
A few years ago, while working on my book Grace of Giving, I studied the parable of the good shepherd in John 10 extensively and ultimately John 10:10 became the foundation scripture for the book. While studying however, my attention was also drawn to John 10:9. Jesus says there: I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.
For the longest time I wondered about the coming in and going out. Once we belong to Jesus and have entered his Kingdom, who wants to go back into the world? With Him, without Him, going in and out, that would be stupid, right? That would be like the ancient Israelites wanting to go back to slavery in Egypt for the simple reason that the meat was better there! No, the going in and out had to be about something else.
Jesus is the gate to eternal life and we can only enter through that one gate; which certainly narrows our choices down! We will come in, that is: we will enter his Kingdom, a spiritual realm where God's will is being done. The Bible says the Kingdom cannot be seen, but it is within reach or within us (Luke 17:21). We will go out, that is: into the world. We are not of this world, but we still live in it! And then... we will find pasture!
Wow, we will be able to find green pastures and quiet waters amidst the trouble and turmoil in this world (Psalm 23). That is a very comforting thought. The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. It is possible to enjoy safe pasture despite all the unrest in this world, despite all the bad news and the uprisings, despite political and economical unstability.
We have to trust God to provide that safe pasture for us. We must not engage in negative talk about this world but continue to proclaim His promises and bless all people! Jesus said in John 16:33, In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world! Take heart! Be encouraged! The world cannot invade the Kingdom, but we must bring the Kingdom into the world and share our peaceful and safe pasture with others, so they will get a glimpse of what a life with Jesus is all about!