My Sheep Hear My Voice
By John and Linde Feakes
Two of our children are enrolled in the Royal Canadian Air Cadet Program here in Winnipeg. Recently we attended their annual drill team competition. This year six teams of air, sea, and army cadets entered the contest.
During the contest each team is led individually onto the floor before a panel of judges to be inspected. Their uniforms, postures, and formation are all carefully considered. Next the team performs a routine which consists of a prescribed series of stances, marches and salutes. The teams are scored according to how well they execute these movements as a unified team in response to their leaders' commands. Watching these disciplined young people at the contest brought two scriptural truths to mind.
Hear Only the Commander
Prior to the actual contest, the floor is filled with teams of cadets going through their respective routines. Over the echoing sound of boots hitting the floor one can hear the voices of commanders barking instructions at their teams. It is interesting to watch these cadets respond immediately to the voice of their respective commanders whilst being seeming oblivious to the many other voices in the room.
The parallel to the Christian walk is obvious. Jesus said that His sheep hear His voice (John 10:27) and that they will not follow another (vv. 5,8). Today perhaps more than any other time in history, we are being bombarded with a bewildering plethora of conflicting voices. This confusing situation has caused an attitude of general skepticism to pervade our culture, especially with respect to things religious. Christians ought to follow the cadets' example of single-minded devotion, and apply it to the voice of our wise Commander, The Lord Jesus Christ. Doing so dispels the darkness of ignorance and fills our life with knowledge, hope, direction and purpose.
Individuals Represent the Whole
During the contest, teams are graded on how well they obey the instructions of their commander and execute their movements as a team. If one team member is postured differently or executes the movements out of synch with the rest of the team, it will cost the team points and it is likely they will not win the contest. Paul makes it clear that the individual Christian is part of a body of believers and that as such we are intimately connected (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). There are no "lone rangers" in the body of Christ. To affirm as much is about as meaningful as the affirmation that there could be a square circle or a five-sided triangle!
Just as an individual Cadet's performance represents the whole team, the conduct of an individual Christian reflects upon the whole body of Christ. Just as Daniel was closely scrutinized by those antagonistic to him, so too is the Christian by our culture which is antagonistic to Christ and the Bible that speaks of Him. Let us therefore together conduct ourselves in a manner pleasing to Christ our Great Commander, knowing that if one member of the body of Christ fails to do so, the whole body is adversely affected. On the other hand, think of the positive impact the body of Christ can make in the world as a single, unified force executing its duties for the glory of Christ!
"Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." Hebrews 13:20-21