Are You The Watchman or Hired Help?

The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. John 10:2-3, 12

This passage reads like a play, the main characters being Jesus, the good Shepherd, the watchman, the hired help, and the wolf (Satan). Being that I am not the good shepherd nor the wolf (may that not shock any of you), it begs the question:

Am I the watchman or the hired help?

Years ago during a week-long family camp in Colorado, my husband and I gathered with fellow campers to listen to the speaker each morning. One particular day, the speaker emphasized the need to show others the door that leads to eternal life. 

“Show them the door,” he’d said several times.

In other words, show them Jesus.

“I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep … I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. (vs 7, 9)

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Both of my older brothers took on the role of watchmen, introducing me to Jesus back in high school.

Since then, I’ve been privileged as a mom and in my former professional career as a Dietitian to show my children, patients, and clients the same door, even praying with a few who, after introduced to Jesus, received the free gift of salvation … 

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. (vs 9)

As a fiction author, I behave as a watchman through use of fiction to accomplish the same objective, creating sympathetic and relatable characters in need of rescue from faulty thinking and restoration to God.

In that role, I invite sheep to listen to his voice and be lead safely through the gate into Jesus’s pasture.

But, for any number of reason, I don’t consistently act the watchman. The other character who appears in this story is Hired Help.

Fearful of attack and ruled by self preservation, Hired Help abandons the sheep when he sees the wolf (Satan) coming. 

Note: Hired Help doesn’t amble away. He runs! 

The world offers endless doors, gates, and passageways through which to pass. Promises of nirvana on the other side. As saved sheep belonging to the good Shepherd, we have a responsibility—a privilege—to direct others to Jesus. As the role implies, being a watchman requires vigilance, eyes alert in prayer and in study of God’s word in order to effectively distinguish the voice of the shepherd from wolves and wave wandering sheep safely toward the gate.

The one and only Gate.

Fellow Watchman, who will join me in remaining watchful and open the gate for the sheep?

What makes acting the watchman difficult? When have you behaved more like the hired help? Who is safely in the pasture, cared for by the good shepherd as a result of your decision to keep watch? Who in your life needs your fervent prayers for God to lead them to the watchman beside the gate?

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