According to Lewis and Faye Copeland, years ago at a certain children’s hospital, a boy gained a reputation for wreaking havoc with the staff.
One day a visitor who knew about his terrorizing nature made him a deal: “If you are good for a week,” she said, “I’ll give you a dime when I come again.”
A week later she returned and stood before his bed.
“I’ll tell you what,” she said. “I won’t ask the nurses if you behaved. You must tell me yourself.
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“Do you deserve the dime?”
After a pause, a small voice from among the sheets blurted: “Gimme a penny.”
That bantam bargainer lives in us all. God doesn’t accept such deals, though, and the Bible has far better news.
God promises not to give us rebels what we deserve, or repay us for our crimes (Psalm 103:10).
How can God treat us that way, and still be holy? How can God give away eternal life with him to the undeserving?
The Bible says, “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:14).
My children have a cat, many fish, and two guinea pigs. I like them, but I wouldn’t give my life for any of them.
Jesus, however, died for us willingly. He laid down his life for the sheep.
Many area churches tomorrow will celebrate God’s Son as the good shepherd who declared, “No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.
“I have authority to lay it down, and authority to take it up again.
“This command I received from my Father” (John 10:18).
On “Good Shepherd” Sunday Christians will rejoice in the risen Son of God.
He not only transcends time and fills heaven and earth, but also carries his lambs in his arms and gently leads those who have young (Isaiah 40:11).
Feed on your shepherd’s word.
Even in the death’s darkest valley, Jesus wants you to pray about God’s mighty word with one of the Bible’s best-known shepherds, David: “Your rod and your staff-- they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).
Comforted by God’s Word, you can say in a hospital bed, or any difficulty, “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).
Rev. Daniel A. Witte, pastor of Risen Savior Lutheran Church, can be reached at 747-5564. For more information, see www.rsavior.com. Faith Matters is a regular feature of Saturday’s Herald, written by local clergy members.