Multiple times in the Gospels, Jesus uses the example of shepherds and their relationship with their flock in parables in beautiful and intimate ways.
You may know the story of a shepherd leaving the ninety-nine sheep to find the lost one from the Gospel of Luke (Luke 15:1-7), and today we hear about the flock recognizing the voice of its shepherd (John 10:4). We also hear that “the shepherd calls his own sheep by name” (John 10:3)—a simple statement that has been moving my heart as I pray with those words.
Full disclosure, I don’t know much about sheep.
I’ve seen them at farms and zoos and had to wait as a flock was moved across a country road in Ireland once, but that is about the extent of my experience with the wooly creatures. I did however grow up with house pets and can vividly remember my family’s thoughtful conversations around what to name our puppy when I was in elementary school. Similarly, when my husband and I got our basset hound, we spent intentional time trying to decide what to name her.
The naming of our pets was important and meaningful.
I don’t know if it’s common practice to name sheep (especially if they’re bred for food), but perhaps that’s another beautiful insight given in the story. The idea of a shepherd taking the time to intentionally name so many in his care, possibly as many as one hundred, is just so tender. You don’t have to be proficient in the study of ovine to notice the insights that these parables give into the caring heart of our Creator.
I like to imagine God has a special name for each of us too. Maybe it’s a specific tone in which He calls your given name or a nickname that demonstrates loving familiarity. The name could be Daughter, Beloved, Dear One, the list goes on.
Consider taking time in prayer today to ask God to call your name. Pay attention. What name is used? Do you recognize God’s voice? How does it sound? Do you feel called to respond? In what way?Ask God to call your name. // Sarah Rose Click To Tweet
Creator God, I praise You today and give thanks for my place in Your heart.
Thank you for being here.
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