"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me"
The shepherd "...calls his own sheep by name and leads them out... his sheep follow him because they know his voice." (John 10)
Today Daniel and I took Valerie to a lovely petting zoo. It was a crisp sunny day at a farm out in Freeland and a wonderful experience for Valerie. This was a 'true' petting zoo. There were about 12 teenagers attending in a barn and as children sat down they would be brought a bunny, a piglet, rabbit, chick, or other small creature to pet and hold in their laps. It was exhilerating to see Valerie hold and touch animals that she knew from her story books. Later she had the time of her life running around in a huge grassy pen with lots of sheep, goats, and calves. There must have been about 50 goats and sheep in this enormous pen, mothers with their babies.
All goats and sheep bleat - and it all sounded the same to me. The black goats with their long beards, others spotted and patched with black and white, - the whooly sheep, brown, black, and white. All were mixed together in one pen.
We heard a bleating from far off in a corner of the wide pen. From the opposite side came a similar bleating. In that far off corner was a tiny goat bleating for its mother. The two performed a duet - more likely singing a round. The baby would bleat and then the mother would echo back. This went back and forth and as they bleated to each other and inched toward the direction of the sound. Finally within sight, ecstatically (hope I spelled that right) the baby goat began running and leaping to the mother . The two joyously pranced as they were reunited and the little one eagerly nursed. With so many sheep and goats in the same pen, how could these two goats know they needed each other. How did they differentiate the sounds of other goats and sheep? Yet it was obvious they distinctly knew and zeroed in on the sound. No other mother goat was headed toward that bleating baby.
That is just the lesson Jesus was giving us about himself. He knows us and wants to direct our lives and if we truly LISTEN to His voice, if we truly KNOW Him we will not get lost in the confusion and bustle of the world around us.
Andy, this may sound like something we were talking about on the phone just recently. How do we know about certain important decisions? How can we make a wise choice? We listen for the voice of the Shepherd who wants us to find fullfillment and happiness. And in listening we get to know our Shepherd and we place ourselves in his care because we have learned to trust Him.
"The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.... Continue reading Psalm23. If you haven't read it for a while, read it again and again. You will see that our Shepherd wants the best for us and will supply it. This was David writing from personal experience, not theological augmentation.
We skipped church to go to a petting zoo, but expereinced scripture in a powerful illustration . Oh, that I would listen more to my shepherd!