4th Sunday of Easter, Year C
John 10: 27-30
The Never Enough is What Keeps Us Coming Back for More
In just four verses, Scripture says, “no one can take them [His sheep] out of the Father’s hands” twice. I read this gospel multiple times over several days, noticing this repeat every time. What was God trying to tell me? What was I not hearing?
I think God was reminding me that He has given us the ultimate gift of being able to choose or to reject Him, that is, He’s given us free will. While the Father allows no one the ability to take His sheep out of His hands, He does allow us to choose to leave the fold. That’s an amazing gift, and, really, an incredible trust.
In parenting my own children, I often think about God as the perfect parent. It’s the times I don’t think about Him as the model that I get myself into parental trouble. When I let the desires of the world intrude into what I want for my kids, that’s when we go to battle. It’s not pretty, it’s not fun, and nobody comes out feeling like they’ve won. God knows that. So God doesn’t battle us. He battles for us—verses 28 and 29 say, twice, that God won’t let anyone or anything take His sheep. Why? Because God is in there fighting off the forces that want to take us. But while God does fight to protect us, He doesn’t do battle with us. He lets us choose.
Think about the prodigal son. When the son declares his father to be dead to him and asks for his inheritance, the father gives it willingly. Dad doesn’t battle the son. He knows the forces the son is up against and presumably he’s taught the son about them. So the father gives the son the gift of free will and cuts him loose. Because of that, the son feels He can come back. There have been no ill words that would prevent his return. Those months or years the son is gone must have been excruciating for the father. I’d be writhing in pain every day. But when the son returns, it’s by his own volition. Since the father didn’t manipulate, the son’s return is a gift.
Evil has to win us over by manipulation. Evil shows us benefits that aren’t really beneficial, that only seem good on the surface. When we capitulate to evil, it has to work to keep us there. That’s why when we worship something other than our God, it’s never enough. The never enough is what keeps us coming back for more.
Worship power and you’ll never feel you have a big enough kingdom. Worship money, and the next raise is the one that will set you up, not this one. Worship appearance, and you’re not ever thin enough, pretty enough, young enough. Worship anything but God, and you’re not ever enough. But when you worship the Lord, you are enough, just as you are. You are pretty enough, powerful enough, rich enough; you have enough of everything you need to do great things for His kingdom. Because all God wants is you. That’s why He is waiting every day for us. And when we come to Him, God knows, just like we do, that it’s the real thing.