Before the days of gated communities and security cameras, home owners erected fences to keep people off their property. Animals lovers added big guard dogs to scare off potential trespassers. Despite these obvious warnings, if these obstacles meant saving time through a short cut, I was willing to take the risk as a teenager. Depending upon who was with me at the time, we would approach cautiously and look in every direction to see if it was safe. When the timing was right, my friends and I jumped the fence, ran and cleared the other side.
The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out, John 10:2-3.
The Bible refers to a different kind of fence, a shepherd’s pen. Early in the morning, first century shepherds led their sheep to a pasture to graze during the day, leading them with his staff. Before night fall, the shepherd would count each one before placing them back into a pen for the night. However, his work was not done, often sleeping outside overnight to protect his sheep from potential fence jumpers, wild animals hoping to get a free meal.
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it, Matthew 7:14.
Today, fence jumpers still exist. Some do so to escape a troubled past, hoping to find a new life on the other side. Some find the grass greener on the opposing side of their fence. A combination of discontentment and jealousy entice these people to consider exchanging one fence for another. Meanwhile, others try to find the easiest way possible through life, even if it means cutting some corners here and there. According to Jesus, only a few enter through the eternal gate that leads to life. While countless attempt to jump this fence, no one has or will ever be successful. Therefore, if you want to enter this place you must listen for and to the Shepherd to lead you to the gate of heaven.
by Jay Mankus