SHAWNEE, Okla. (BP) – These are certainly challenging – some might say chaotic – times in which we live. As I talk with members of our church, the most common questions they ask are, “How do I navigate all of the craziness of this world right now?” and “How do I know what to believe about ________?”
Every day we face the pressure of issues related to COVID-19, political upheaval and a nation deeply divided over what seem to be intractable problems. We watch the news and scroll through our social media feeds, and many times we don’t know what is true and what is false. We are bombarded with truth claims and worldviews that can create confusion and anxiety.
In times of uncertainty and difficulty, it is always good to be reminded that Jesus and His Word must be our anchor point that rise far above anything or any problem we might face.
The author of the letter to Hebrews encouraged his audience in similar times of anxiety and upheaval to remember that no person, no thing and no ideology is greater than Jesus. Jesus is the greatest!
We are tempted today to see things other than Jesus as the greatest. Who or what you deem to be the greatest is critically important because it shapes your worldview, determines how you view truth and serves as the basis of your hope. For many today, the “greatest” is our country, or political ideology, or job, or relationship. These things may well be great, and we are not wrong to be involved in them, but none of these are the greatest.
I love my country and greatly want what is best for it, but my country cannot save me. I love my job as a pastor, but I must draw my identity and worth from Jesus, not my vocation. I love my wife indescribably, but she is not my Savior. It’s good to have great things in your life, but it’s not good to anchor your view of truth and hope in any of these. If we follow anything other than Jesus as the greatest, we will eventually be deeply disappointed.
So, in a world that seems to be falling apart, anchor your life in the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Follow Jesus who is far greater than anything that troubles or confuses us.
How do we navigate the craziness of our times? Be intentional in prayer. Take the time and effort to study God’s Word and then live out what it says. Stay engaged with your church through worship and small groups. Give and serve as you are able. Pray and think before you speak or type or post.
Share the Gospel. Encourage others. Faith and focus on Jesus is the only sure way to find your way through these challenging times.
On a mission trip overseas some years ago, we worked in a remote village in desert-like terrain surrounded by mountains. At the top of the mountain nearest the village, looking out over the vast panorama dotted with herds of sheep, we asked the village leader if anyone ever got lost in this wilderness.
The leader said, “Yes, you can get lost,” but then confidently added, “but you can always find your way home.” “How is that?” we asked. “You simply stop and listen for the sheep. When you hear the sheep, walk toward them. When you find them, you will find the shepherd. The shepherd knows this land better than anyone. He knows where every well and every village is located.” And then he added, “When you find the shepherd, you can find your way home.”
What a lesson for us! In the craziness of our world right now, it’s easy to lose our way. There are so many worldviews, truth claims and things that try to tell us they are the “greatest.”
How desperately we need to stop and listen closely, so that we can find and follow the Shepherd. Jesus said in John 10:3, 4 and 11, “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. … I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
There is no other whom we should follow with our lives and devotion than the Good Shepherd. Jesus is the greatest! He knows where to find provision and wisdom for our needs, and He always knows the way home to the Father, even in the most tumultuous of times.
Todd Fisher is pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee, Okla., and current president of Oklahoma Baptists.