Reading: John 10:1-10
“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
Radar O’Reilly was probably my favorite character on the show M*A*S*H. The glasses-wearing, super-organized, and hyper-vigilant character was known for his ability to hear medical helicopters coming from a long distance and give everyone the heads up. Because of his keen sense of hearing, he was nicknamed “Radar,” and the essence of his character made for great comedy and great heart.
In addition to hearing choppers before anyone else at the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, he was also able to anticipate the needs of his commanding officer. If Colonel Potter asked for a form, Radar already had it on a clipboard, ready for a signature. If Colonel Blake needed information from The Brass in Seoul, Radar knew who to call. Radar’s radar was always at the ready. Whether he was the brains or the heartbeat of the entire hospital, he was always a few paces ahead of everybody else.
Before the character or Radar had ever been invented though, Jesus was teaching his disciples to use their own inner radar to understand a few things about people. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jesus is trying to help us understand that if fear is at the root of something, it’s probably not coming from God. The phrase most often used throughout all of scripture is “fear not,” or “do not be afraid.” Jesus takes this to the next level. In a sense, he’s trying to make sure we’ve got the message in three easy steps.
Step One: Do not be afraid.
Step Two: Do not believe anyone who tells you that you should be afraid.
Step Three: If confused, refer back to Step One.
Jesus wants us to live life with a sense of abundance. And when those voices come around to tell us that we should be afraid of something or someone, we can remember that Jesus came so that we “may have life, and have it to the full.” And whether or not we have a keen sensitivity about things the way Radar O’Reilly did, we can also know that Jesus will always guide us to see God’s love at work in the world.
Thank you for reminding us to live with abundance. Help us to leave behind scarcity, and see that your love shines every day on all of your children. Thank you for your Son, who came to give us abundant life.