Matters of Faith: 10-10 Wins

By Rev. Dr. J. Loren Russell

John 10:7-11

7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

While we are battling a worldwide pandemic that has taken the lives of more than 250,000 American citizens, systemic racism that has resulted in civil unrest the likes of which have not been seen since the 1960’s civil rights movement, and a political landscape that is unprecedented in the history of the nation, there is still much to be thankful for. With effective, God-directed leadership, we can have the plentiful and abundant life Jesus spoke about in the text.

The slogan for news radio 1010 WINS in New York City is: “You give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world!” Of course, they are not literally talking about delivering the world and all its riches. Their slogan suggests that the news they provide will give their listeners an awareness of things going on around the world. Jesus did not promise to give the world, or information about the world, but an abundant life while we are in the world.

In verses 7-9, Jesus identifies Himself as the door (the shepherd) that allows the sheep to enter and exit safely. There He says that the sheep who come through Him can distinguish His voice from any and all of those who seek to steal, kill, and destroy. On the other side of the promise in verse 10 is Jesus’ affirmation that He is not just any shepherd (one who tends sheep), but the good shepherd who will give His life for His sheep. As it was in Jesus’ day, we need leadership that brings stability, safety, and provision to the people. We need leaders who are willing to give their all for the people.

The text refers to the people as sheep. Sheep are prone to wandering and rebelliousness. If their shepherd is not diligent, they will wander off. They have no defenses to protect themselves, so they become vulnerable to every predator. Leaders today must also provide safe ingress and egress, guidance and direction so that resources are made available for an abundant life. We need leaders who provide the pasture of reconciliation and unity. The people have their parts to play, but our leaders must provide for safe grazing and a protected sanctuary that guards against anyone who comes with the desire to steal, kill or destroy.

The slogan, “Give us 22 minutes and we’ll give you the world” may be an attractive offer, but Jesus asked a sobering question in Matthew 16:26; “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” John 10:10 records the voice of Jesus who is not asking for 22 minutes to get the world. He tells His readers, without equivocation, that His purpose was, is, and will ever be, to bring abundant life. If I had to choose between the world and the abundant life Jesus talked about, I would choose the leadership that leads to an abundant life. That’s why I say 1010 wins!

Make it a blessed Thanksgiving!

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial Strategy & Consulting; an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx; and creator& host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 pm LIVE on J Loren Russell and Matters of Faith Facebook groups and the Matters of Faith YouTube channel.

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