Friday, March 14, 2003
Americans have seen a lot of emotional scenes, watching families say goodbye as their soldiers and sailors ship out for duty in the world's danger spots. Not long after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, thousands of military personnel boarded ships bound for unannounced destinations. Imagine - your ship has set sail, but you don't know where you're going. The news reported that some of those ships left with sealed orders. When their ship reached a certain point, their commander was authorized to open those orders and find out just exactly where they were all going. And as people needed to know, they were informed by the commander. "Need to know," they call it.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Finding Out When You Need To Know."
It's not uncommon in the military - you get your orders on a "need to know" basis. It's not uncommon in God's army either. In fact, it God's modus operandi. Of course, like the military on those ships with the mystery destination, we think we need to know right now! But our Commander reveals our orders when He thinks we need to know. He won't reveal your ultimate destination, but he'll always make sure you know what you need to do today.
You may be in a time when you're wondering where your Lord is taking you. It's one of those, "What is God's will?" times. It's a good time to review how God's guidance works. It's a good time for our word for today from the Word of God in John 10, beginning with verse 3. It says of Jesus, our Good Shepherd, "The sheep listen to His voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out." Notice, you're not just lost in Jesus' great flock. He calls you by name - to follow Him into a plan that is uniquely yours, just for your life.
It goes on to say, "He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice. They will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize his voice." The issue for sheep is not "where am I going?" or "how are we getting there?" - the issue for a sheep is staying close to the One who's leading him. It's about being able to recognize the Shepherd's voice in the middle of all the other voices talking at you.
It's not about figuring out the Plan - it's about staying close to the Planner. He reveals His plans to you on a "need to know" basis - which is usually one day at a time. If He told you where He's taking you ultimately, you'd probably run from it because it would sound scary based on what you know now, or you'd run to it and get there before it's ready or you're ready. Either way, you'd mess it up and miss it.
Your job is to be in His Word faithfully, every day, so you get real good at recognizing what your Lord sounds like. Then when you pray for specific guidance, you'll be able to say, "Now, that's Him - I know what His voice sounds like!" Get good at listening to your Savior's voice, and not stressing over where He's taking you.
The orders of God always lead you to the great plans of God. They're revealed on a "need to know" basis. When you need to know more, you will know. But until then, give everything you've got to what He's already told you to do!