January 13, 2007

Recognizing the Voice

ENHS--Home of the Spartans
Last night, the East Nicolaus High School basketball team took on the team from Live Oak High School. Maybe 100 to 150 people came out in the cold weather to cheer the Spartans on. That's about average for the small rural school. It's enough people to make some noise, but it's also a small enough crowd that one person yelling loudly can heard clearly by everyone in the gym.

Some of the fans were overly exuberant. Especially some of the parents. Especially the guy sitting about two rows behind me. He and the others kept yelling out to the players, calling them by name, telling them what to do.

I don't remember all the things they yelled out to the players on the court. Not being much of a sports person, I wouldn't be very convincing if I made things up and put them in their mouths for the sake of telling the story. A few of them, I wouldn't dare recite, even if I did remember them. Yet, as I sat there, I wondered how the players could distinguish between all the different voices calling out to them, shouting out their names, telling them to do this or do that while they are playing the game. The coach, also, kept hollaring out to them, and while he had a strong, loud voice, it was no match for the guy behind me. For the most part, the only voice from the sidelines the players need to hear is that of the coach; how do they tune the others out?

I kept watching the coach give instructions, and every time, the players responded. Every time they heard his voice over the others. Then I realized that, after many hours and days of practice and training, they know his voice. They recognize it, even if it isn't as loud as some of the other voices echoing off the walls of the gym. They have been trained to hear his voice. They do not recognize the voices of the strangers--and, while the clock in the gym is ticking, even parents become strangers. But the voice they need to hear, the voice they've been trained to hear--that, they hear.

He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
John 10:3-4

1 comment:

nakedpastor said...

my uncle told me of a time when he was in england, he visited a country pub. there were sheep everywhere. when it came time to leave, he witnessed a few shepherds come out of the pub, friends, and start calling for their sheep to follow them. all three flocks were all mixed in together. but when they heard their own shepherd's voice, they separated into their three respective flocks and went on their way. a beautiful picture of "and the sheep know their master's voice". good post!