[x_custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h1″]Protection?[/x_custom_headline]
The security gates in Ethiopia are a curious lot. They are located outside most hotels, government agencies, and other places of importance. Security gates are not uncommon in the US either. They serve as a means of protection and mark a delineating line between the protected area and the outside. This is certainly the case in Addis Ababa as well. But, it is slightly different. Drastically different actually.

At the entrance to my hotel there is a guard house that consistently had a group of 4 or more guards to ensure that appropriate visitors were allowed in and others were not. The manual lift gate was counterbalanced, like most gates. Yet, the gates of Ethiopia were counterbalanced in such a way that their default position was open. A rope was attached to the end so that the gate could be pulled down when necessary. But, the default position was one of welcome. This seemed to be the case at every gate I saw–and I saw a lot because the city of Addis prides itself on safety. Or, at least it claims to. Gates that remain in the open position don’t scream security. They offer the allure of restriction–but, in truth, the entrance was not difficult to enter.

[x_custom_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h2″]And so it is with Christ Jesus[/x_custom_headline]
[x_pullquote cite=”John 10:9″ type=”left”]Jesus said, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.” [/x_pullquote] We enter into the realm of the Good Shepherd by walking through the gate. And, like my hotel in Addis, the gate of Jesus remains open–wide open. The entrance into His realm requires faithful steps–nothing more. Joining the ranks of His flock is both simple and hard. It is simple because His gate is open and He is ready to welcome you into His presence. It is hard because faith is hard. It is a gift from God, for sure, but it is hard.

Faith in Christ requires us to lose faith in ourselves. Walking through the open gate is a walk away from our intellect; our way of life; our confidence in our science and industry. Faith in Jesus challenges our sensitivities to thinking we don’t need a shepherd. It is a willing submission the the Lord of Life. We are born into an unseen and blind submission to the lord of death. And the greatest trick he ever pulled was making us believe we are our own shepherd. Because of this, becoming a Good Shepherd sheep can feel like a giving up of something. Instead, the Good Shepherd invites us into a deeper reality that is far more about His gift to us than our loss.

The gate is open. The Good Shepherd awaits. In Him you will find pasture. In Him you will find protection. In Him you will find security–even though his gate is always open!

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[x_author title=”About the Author”]

Pastor Scott Ness

Pastor Scott Ness loves stories and finding ways to use ordinary, everyday life to point to our amazing God. He strives to see with eyes of faith. He fails consistently. Through it all, God remains faithful and full of grace. When Pastor Scott isn't running around the church he is often found at home with his wife, Deanna and their six children.