To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
– John 10
All sheep look alike to me.
Defenseless, timid, and nondescript creatures, they tend to wander and get into trouble. When one falls, it needs help to get back on its feet. Its purpose in life is mostly to eat, grow wool, and make more sheep. It’s easy to see why Jesus equated them to humans. A line of sheep looks like a sea of wool and blank stares, huddled in a timid group behind their leader.
I was in one of those lines recently, at a Christian concert.
If you’re a fan of Christian music, you’ve probably been in one of those lines, too. Why not get that CD signed, right? Because the concert I attended was held in a small venue in a small town, the line was a modest, but sincere, one. A little group of us gathered in the church foyer to say hello to the artist, one of the few larger names who scheduled a stop in northern Idaho on his concert tour.
I was probably the oldest person in the line; in fact, I may have been the oldest person in the room.
But something the artist said during the concert had connected with me, and I was determined to share it, so I shuffled in awkward formation with the others. Since it was a small flock, it wasn’t long before it was my turn. Suddenly I felt like a teenaged groupie, only worse, because although my heart is a Panhead, it beats inside a Gaither Trio body. All three of them, poured into a pair of stretchy granny jeans. I’m even sheep-shaped.
The artist was tired, ready to leave, but he patiently bent his head down to hear my request. Then he asked my name.
“Pam,” I answered.
At that, he reared back his head in surprise, startling me.
“No way,” he exclaimed, laughing. “As you were walking up,” he said, “I thought to myself, ‘That looks like Pam.’”
OOOkay. It turns out he knows another senior citizen, who looks just like me, named Pam. We laughed, and I went on my way, feeling weirdly special.
I don’t know what the chances were of that exchange happening, since hardly anyone is named Pam. I guess all sheep do look alike. But it was my reminder that I’m not just a face in a line to God. Although He runs the whole universe, He knows my name. He knows me inside and out, and He loves me.
God saw me before I existed.
He made me the way I am. He picked out the color of my eyes and gave me my dad’s knees. He knows my failures, my pain, and my insecurities. He chooses, however, to remember my faith, my service to Him, and my adoration of all He is.
Out of all the billions of people on the earth, He knows my name. He knows yours, too. We are His possession, and He cares for His sheep.
The Lord is our Shepherd. We shall not want.