I said that my sheep would hear my voice. How do you hear my voice? Do you expect an audible voice in a rich baritone? Have you ever gotten that? What about your own imagination or unexpected thoughts? Would you recognize these as being from me? What about events in your life, especially when a series of multiple, independent, unlikely events converge in your favor? Do you think of this as random serendipity, or do you think there is divine purpose behind it? What if this happens all the time? Do such occasions capture your awareness and make you ponder?
What was your motivation for going to school? To pass the courses assigned to you and graduate? This would be expected in a compulsory system, but a better motivation would be the value of the information and skills presented, and how they will improve the rest of your life. Do you realize that your education continues beyond formal enrollment? At that point you are no longer constrained by academic credit for graduation. Do you see yourself as a lifelong student? Do you see the Holy Spirit as your teacher who will lead you into all truth?
Do you know the difference between giving and investing? Investors expect a return, and those giving gifts do not. Or do they? The Bible speaks of both gifts and investments, but as separate categories. Have you ever received a gift with strings attached, in which you felt obligated to reciprocate, or even worse, were carrying some undefined debt against a future claim? Have you ever done this to anyone else? Is it easy to tell the difference between this and a gift that is freely given?
Are you familiar with the idea of selling yourself short? This is a common phrase that means devaluing your own capabilities. It is a figure of speech since you are not really selling yourself at all. It comes from the realm of finance and investment, in which normal investments are made with the expectation that the value will increase, but a short sale can be made if the value is expected to go down. So if you sell yourself short does it imply that you expect your value to go down? Don’t be so discouraged. I’m investing in you with the confidence that your value will increase.
Do you believe in destiny? Do you believe that you are a unique creation, and that you were put here for a purpose? Do you know what that purpose is? You can believe the underlying principles without knowing your own purpose, but if you believe the principles you should want to know and live in it. Can you follow the principles to their logical conclusion? If you have a unique contribution assigned to you and you don’t make it, then the world is impoverished for the lack of it. Don’t let a stone cry out because you won’t. Don’t let the world be diminished because you held back.
How large is your life? Everyone has some circle of influence and connection, and much has been given to you. Does that imply that much is required of you? Are you grateful for the resources you have? I want you to think beyond money, power, and influence. Your character, integrity, and awareness are more important. How many have the former without the latter? The best way to demonstrate your gratitude for what has been given to you is to employ it to serve me and your neighbor. Don’t be content in taking on small things.
I said that if you seek, you would find. Do you find this to be a tremendous promise; that your searching would not be in vain? Is there anything more frustrating than a fruitless search? Consider the unstated implication of this promise. If you find what you look for, you have to be looking for the right things in order to find them. For if you look for the wrong things you will find those instead. Do you judge others by the questions they ask as much as by the answers they give? Judge yourself this way too. What does it profit a man to have the right answers to the wrong questions?
Do you put forth an extra effort to gain favor with those above you, to whom you are beholden, or who are in a position to reward you? It is your duty to please those that you report to in your job, but this behavior can go beyond good work performance, and it is known by some ungracious terms. How many people do you know who put forth the same effort toward those below them, who are not in a position to reciprocate or reward them? This is rare enough that the corresponding terms in popular jargon do not exist, but love, kindness, and compassion would seem to apply.
Are you familiar with the idea of sleepwalking? Have you ever done it? Is it possible that you have been sleepwalking while you are awake? For it is possible to go through life lacking awareness, and seeing only enough to avoid running into obstacles. You can be aware enough to do your job without being aware of the larger spiritual realm in which you live. This is also referred to as going through the motions. I promised you an abundant life. Are you living it? Are you sufficiently awake and aware enough to know whether you are or not? He who has eyes to see, let him see. Wake up!
The Bible makes many references to soldiers. This is an image that everyone can relate to regardless of whether they have served in uniform or not. The admirable qualities of a soldier include pleasing the one who has called him to serve, and lack of entanglement in distractions. Good soldiers have discipline, focus, and a sense of mission. These qualities transfer directly to the conduct of believers even if their service to me doesn’t involve weapons. Do you know what your commander expects of you?