“But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” John 10:2-3
Jesus had just healed a blind man. The pharisees had just excommunicated that same blind man. What a day it must have been for that man! On one side he had just been healed of a blindness that had kept him in darkness his entire life. On the other side he had just been cast out by the people who, at least in that town, spoke for God. Who was he to believe and follow? If he followed the man who had given him sight then according to the pharisees he no longer had any part in the community of Moses… the community of God.
It is in this context that Jesus tells the story of the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd is contrasted with the hired hand who is out for his own greed and gain. So different is the good Shepherd that He is willing to lay down His life for His sheep. He will stop at no length to protect His sheep.
While describing His relationship with the sheep Jesus tells us WHY the sheep follow this Shepherd and don’t trust themselves to the hired hand. “He calls his own sheep by name.” He knows their name and they know His voice. Stop for a moment and think of how it makes you feel to think that Jesus, the Creator of the universe and all that is in it, knows your name…
Do you feel accepted?
Do you feel loved?
What a powerful truth that Jesus knows each of His sheep by name.
What if you could make others feel that way? What if you could make everyone you meet realize that they are important, valued and loved because they are made in the very image of God? It starts by knowing their name.
One of our principles in every member on mission is to “know every name.” What that means is taking the first step to make the people you meet feel valued and loved by God. That first step is to ask them their name. Throughout the months of November and December we as a Church will be challenging ourselves to put our smartphones, our busy schedules, our self interests and our pride down and instead get to know the people all around us by simply asking them their name. When you meet someone at the store- ask them their name. When you meet someone new at work- ask them their name. When you give someone a few dollars out your car window- ask them their name. Give them the time, dignity and attention that God gives to you so freely. Maybe you’ll learn more of their story. Maybe you’ll have a great conversation and can share some hope with them. Maybe you can find a way to pray for them. Maybe not, but you will never know if you don’t take the time to start. Know every name.
As we each walk through this challenge together and push ourselves out of our comfort zones let’s encourage one another. If you have a “know every name” story please share it with us. You can e-mail it to any of the pastors or share it on facebook with the hashtag #knoweveryname (tag the Church too.) This is new and can be intimidating, so let’s stir one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24) and work on this together.
You are important and valuable to your Father. So is everyone you meet; go tell them. Know Every Name.