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My Sheep Know My Voice and Follow Me by Pastor Youngjae Jee

posted Apr 26, 2016, 9:02 AM by Bowmansville UMC

We are distracted with so many things in the rush of this modern world. Amidst of all these distractions are we able to focus on one thing that matters?

Have you ever been to a noisy party? Music is loud and people talk and move around a lot. You are distracted by so many things but somehow you are able to get into a conversion with people around you. This is what they call “cocktail party effect.” It is a phenomenon where in the midst of noisy cocktail party we are still able to focus on one conversation we want to hear and somehow tune out everything else. The name was coined by a psychologist Colin Cherry in 1953. Back then in the airport they had a single loudspeaker in the control tower and traffic controllers received messages from many pilots through it. So it was very difficult for them to separate the message of the pilot they needed to hear from the others. Colin Cherry set up some experiments and found that the ability to separate a certain sound from background noise was affected by many variables such as the gender of the speaker, the pitch and tone of the speech, and so on.

For example, if you hear familiar voice you may easily pay more attention to it than to others. Babies begin to turn their heads toward a sound that is familiar to them such as their parents’ voices. Children respond more easily to a playful and informal tone of voices than to a steady and formal tone of voice or very long sentences. I know when I preach I am losing their attention in seconds. In some sense adults have much more things to be distracted than children simply because they have so many things going on in their lives and so many things on their plate. However, the situations do not keep them from focusing on the sound that they want to hear. Even if our lives are like a loud cocktail party all along we are able to hear what we want to hear. What is important is that we need to search for the channel and tune in the sound we want to hear while tuning out all other noises. 

"Come near to God and he will come near to you.” (James 4:8) The good voice comes from our Lord Jesus Christ. His voice will lead you to the green pastures and beside quiet waters. It will lead you to righteousness and keep you from any harm. In order to hear this voice I think we ought to be intentional and selective to what we want to hear. We have to make choices all the time. What matters is that we are able to say “no” to what makes us go away from God and “yes” to what makes us come near to God. It is up to our spiritual decision and action.

Joshua left his final word to his people, “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:14-15) It is “yes or no” question but not both.

Jesus calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. (John 10:3-4) Would you listen to the voice of your shepherd Jesus Christ and follow him? The answer is up to you and it must be intentional. “Let your “Yes” be yes and your “No” be no.” (James 5:12) Mine is “Amen.”