“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.
— John 10:1-6 NKJV
Erma Bombeck once wrote a wonderful story about a boy named Donald. He was about to leave home to attend school for the first time.
“My name is Donald, and I don’t know anything. I have new underwear, a loose tooth, and I didn’t sleep last night because I’m worried. What if a bell rings and a man yells, “Where do you belong?” and I don’t know? What if the trays in the cafeteria are too tall for me to reach? What if my loose tooth comes out when we have our heads down and are supposed to be quiet? Am I supposed to bleed quietly? What if I splash water on my name tag and my name disappears and no one knows who I am?”
I love that story. It is so true for most of us. Bombeck expresses through this little story the fears many of us face daily. Hence the popularity of “Cheers.” Remember?“Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name…”
The wonder of the parable above is that we are reminded that God does indeed know our name. In fact, Jesus declared that God has even numbered the hairs on our heads. (He has fewer to count on some than others…). He knows our names because He created us. He opens the gate to allow us to find pasture. (Take a moment and allow yourself to “lie down in green pastures … beside the still waters” [Ps. 23:2]). Let God restore your soul, and bask in the assurance that the Shepherd calls you by name.
Lord Jesus, Your grace is indeed amazing. From David’s vivid picture of Your wonderful peace to Jesus’ reminder that You know us far better than we know ourselves, we lie down in peace trusting in Your abundant mercy and grace. Amen.
Rev. David C. Collins, Re-tired