John 10:14 – [Jesus said] "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me."
My first call to the ministry was as assistant pastor to a large suburban congregation. It was not uncommon for us to have 500 people in church on a Sunday morning. Even the gallery was packed. Our Senior Pastor was known as a very good preacher and minister. It was a privilege to serve under him. I'll never forget the first Sunday I took the pulpit when he was away. A sea of faces stared up at me as I stepped into the pulpit. Faceless faces, except for a few here and there who stood out from the crowd. Like the masses of people we meet in the large shopping malls, all blending into a nameless, faceless throng. Like a large herd of sheep.
Now I am pastoring a small congregation in a struggling northern Ontario mining town. The congregation gathers faithfully Sunday by Sunday. I know the names of each one there. I know their spouses, their children, and in some cases, the place where their parents came from. I know whether they are widowed or divorced. I know their heartaches, joys and sorrows. Like a shepherd knows the family flock of sheep.
Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd. The one who knows His sheep. He knows them by name. He knows us by name. We are His sheep. You and I. Even though Jesus has a huge flock composed of people of every race and colour across this globe, His flock is no nameless, faceless sea of humanity. To Jesus, every one in His flock has a name, a face, and their own identity. We are each unique. We each have a story to tell. Each of us is important to our Saviour. So the next time you feel as if no one cares, as if you are all alone, as if God has forgotten you, remember, Jesus remembers. You are special to Him. He even knows your name. Jesus cares about you. So take your burdens and troubles to Him, and He will lighten your load. All you need to do is tell Him about it. Pray with me if you will.
Prayer: Sometimes I feel as if no one knows I am here. I am told that You know me. So here I am. Take me, and make me into Your child. Make me one of Your sheep. Take me into Your flock. For I pray in Your name, Jesus. Amen.