John 10: 7-10 “Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

The first thing we notice is that Jesus compares himself to a gate. Gates have many purposes. Gates can be used to enter a stadium, garden, backyard. Gates can be used to keep things out. You can keep other animals from your yard, unwanted visitors, etc.

Jesus says next that there are people who have come before him who tried to fool the sheep. The sheep did not listen. He then says that “whoever” enters through him will be saved. Whoever means any person. Jesus saw any and all people. It is one of the best things that we as Christians can do to be like Jesus — see people. Really see people.

At times we turn our heads from people because they make us uncomfortable or uneasy. Brokenness of any kind can scare us. We are afraid of what we do not understand of that which is different than us.

Jesus tells us we can come and go and find pasture.

Pastures are safe places where animals go to graze. There are good, lush areas for grazing and getting nourishment. Jesus wants us to graze and be nourished. He wants to provide us with our needs. We have to walk through the gate with our “Yes!” to Jesus. Many times we mistake our “Yes!” as a one time event. Really, it is a daily commitment to Christ.

We are continuing to say “Yes!” when we study his word, personally. Not just on Sunday. We are continuing to say “Yes!” when we praise him daily.

When was the last time you said something you were thankful for before you began your day, in the middle of the day, at the end of the day? Yesterday was a beautiful day; perfect temperature and sunshine — what a gift. I am thankful for the opportunity to enjoy the perfect day.

Yesterday I shared a meal with my family outside. What a wonderful moment that I am thankful for. Yesterday I was able to work. There was no illness that impeded, no migraine (those nasty beasts sometimes visit me) that kept me from writing, from being fully present with others for that I am thankful.

During Thanksgiving, I keep a daily thankful journal. As I write this week I realize I need to keep a daily thankful journal every day. Living a full life is taking time to notice, to appreciate, to use every opportunity to be with the Lord, to see others, and to enjoy the sweet pasture that the Lord has given us.

I do not know about you but I am pretty darn excited that Jesus is the gate!

The Rev. Tracey Zimmerman serves at Fremont United Methodist Church and Nevada Mills United Methodist Church

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