The First 15

Wednesday August 19, 2020

by First Methodist Mansfield

True Self


John 10:7-16
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 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.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.


I used to have big dreams for my kids. I imagined them in various jobs and roles, doing great things of course. Then, as my kids moved into their teen years, and their interests were not what I had imagined, I began to change what I prayed for them. Instead of praying that they would grow into a particular kind of person or do a particular sort of thing, I simply prayed that they would fulfill God’s call on their lives. I prayed that they would become the truest version of themselves. I recognized in my own life that no matter my vocation, setting, or circumstances, if I was being authentically me, and using my life to serve others, then I experienced joy and life to the full. I also came to understand that my dreams for my children were just that, my dreams. And holding on to my dreams for them would only bring heartache and difficulty for me and them. They would never be able to meet my expectations, leaving both of us disappointed.

God has a deep call on each of us to be authentically who we are. Because we are created in God’s image, as we come to know ourselves, we also come to know God. Dr. Howard Thurman, theologian and civil rights leader, is credited with saying, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Our life’s purpose is to be a visible expression of both the image and the likeness of God. That image and likeness is revealed in unique ways in each of us. God contains all of the good facets of humanity. So while I may come closer to being my truest self when I write, you may do so when you dance, or talk, or cook, or offer kindness, or clean, or help, or…….

As we seek that true self, that which makes us come alive, we will find joy and peace, what every human being seeks. And this is not selfish, as many of you are thinking right now. It is our truth. It is God’s dream for his children. When you know who you are, you also know whose you are. And more good news – when you become closer to the person God created you to be, it is easier to help others do the same. You will quit competing with others, and start genuinely caring for them. Truth, the truth of yourself and of God sets you free.

What makes you come alive? How can you do more of that?

Prayer for Today

Lord, Thank you for creating me in your image. Let me discover my truest self, let me answer your call upon my life. Guide me as I seek to love you more. Show me ways to love and serve others. Let me find the abundant life you desire for me. Give me courage to come closer to you and to who you created me to be. Amen.

The First 15

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