Stay Inside the Fence
I have a standing reservation every Wednesday. Not at a spa or restaurant. With my three oldest grandkids.
Every since they were born, Wednesdays were saved for tea parties. Baking cakes and cookies. Picnics in the backyard. Jumping in autumn leaves. Shooting hoops on the Gorilla Goal. Taking hikes in the neighborhood greenbelt. Making forts with couch pillows. And the list goes on. It was easy to entertain them when they were young.
As they got older, time was limited. There was school and extracurricular activities. Play rehearsals, music lessons, basketball practice and science club. Sometimes all we can fit in is a quick game of Sorry while sipping homemade milkshakes. But whatever we do, it’s a date none of us wants to miss. I want them to know they’re my priorities and that I cherish the time we have together.
Amidst all the hoopla, I look for teachable moments. Years ago, the topic of following rules came up. So I got an idea to help them understand how important it was to obey. Giving them some paper and colored pencils, I asked them to draw a fence with a gate. Inside they were to place happy things. I loved their perspective on what is good. They drew stick figures holding hands with big smiles. Happy faces and musical notes. Birds in trees and rays of sunshine. Even flowers.
Outside the fence, they were to draw pictures of hurts and sadness. They came up with someone throwing stones; a broken heart; tears and a figure standing all alone with no one to help. The lesson being that there was love and protection inside the fence. But when they got outside of it, only pain and trouble. I explained that God’s rules were put in place to give life, joy, peace and provision. I wanted them to get a picture of the rewards of obedience. And the consequences of rebellion.
Even after all these years, they get it when I say, stay inside the fence. (May all of us remember to do the same)!
John 10:1-10 excerpts
I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber…I tell you the truth, I AM THE GATE for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I AM THE GATE; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.
Questions to Consider:
1. What is the truth Jesus declares here?
2. Who are the thieves and robbers to whom Jesus refers?
3. What other ways might people devise to get into the “sheep pen”?
4. How does Jesus describe himself?
5. Describe the difference between the mission of Jesus and the thief.
Jesus used word pictures to clarify truth. He said He was the Gate for the sheep. The sheep pen in Bible times was surrounded by walls open to the sky but with only one entrance. Several flocks of sheep would be held there, protecting them from wandering and from wild animals. We are like sheep who have gone astray. The Lord wants us to stay close to Him and not wander away. Isn’t this a beautiful picture of protection for us as the Lord’s sheep! It’s inside the fence where all our needs our met. I love that Jesus came to give us abundant life. The enemy is out to kill, steal and destroy. But praise God, Jesus came to destroy the works of the evil one. Our part is to stay close to the Shepherd of our souls and obey His Word. It’s where abundant life is found. Stay inside the fence. The rewards are eternal.