I said I’d write about a voice I know… The other day at work, my Zen was playing “I Will Follow Your Voice” by Downhere. (I’m not an iPod guy, I use a 32GB Creative Zen as my MP3 player, which holds more than 2000 songs for me, yep.) The song reminded me of a great conversation a few years ago with one of my brothers from our “Men of Faith” Friday morning Bible study. Let’s call him Ted.
The topic of following God’s voice had come up in a Friday morning session. I think we’d come across John 10:27, and discussed the richness Jesus’ metaphor would have for people of His time. They were probably very aware of the value that would arise from shepherds spending long periods of time alone with their flocks so that the sheep heard only their voice. The familiarity with the voice made calling and commanding the flock so much more straightforward. Ted talked about how more and more he was trying to rely on God’s direction in his business and personal decisionmaking. Later, though, he called me on my cell. We talked a bit, and he said that sometimes he wasn’t sure which direction was God’s will. He asked me how it was that he should recognize God’s voice–how did I?
Well, like it happens now and then, with no plan for what I’d say, the right words popped into my head. (Thanks, God!) I thought about the phones we were talking on. I told Ted that since his number was in my contact list on the phone, his name popped up on the screen when he called–Caller ID. But in his case, since I’ve talked with him so much, since I’ve spent great time with him, I could answer the phone and know it was him without looking at the screen. Since I have a long-standing relationship with him and talk with him regularly, even know what he’s going to say, I recognized his voice. It clicked.
So, we’re definitely the sheep that Jesus is talking about in John 10:27 if we’re trying to follow Him. But that bit about recognizing His voice isn’t always a natural thing for us. But if we’re really interested in knowing that voice, we can do something about it. Seems to me there’s a reason God reminds us to be in His Word regularly, in worship regularly, to seek Him with passion–we need to know Him and know Him well, which will allow us to recognize His voice. Spending time in Bible study, with solid believers, in worship singing the songs He’s given us, in prayer, in silence waiting on Him–all of this get us more and more familiar with His voice. I told Ted that I wasn’t as good at recognizing God’s voice as I was with my Ted-ID, or maybe I was too intent on ducking God’s calls. But I do feel as though I’m getting successively better.
I think being intent on recognizing God’s voice, our shepherd’s voice, is an important part of our individual spiritual discipline. Our dedication to spending time getting to know God better and better makes recognizing His voice in our lives a more natural thing. That’s also one of the reasons I love my role in worship so much–what I do is very little scripted but very heavily driven by the Holy Spirit. It’s that process of letting the Spirit guide my words and expression that makes worship more valuable to me, and I think, the congregation.
BTW, next Wednesday is the first Worship Team Open Rehearsal–hope we get a few new faces to come try it out! Tonight we’ll be trying out the SamePage capabilities for electronic music stands with personal in-ear monitor mixes–plus online scheduling and planning for worship services. Hope it all is attractive and affordable for us…
Also, no such thing as a coincidence… Tonight we watched the Glee premiere, where they were having troubles with recruiting new glee club members to supplement some who’d left the club. I trust much worse results than we’ll see…