We gather at my parents’ house at least once a month to celebrate birthdays or other events. When we are all present, there are 14 little kids running around. They move around the entire time—playing outside on the swings or coming in to play in the playroom or another bedroom they commandeer as their own. The adults move in and out and around keeping up with littles, but we mostly gather in the main living area and visit. Inevitably, every visit, a little starts screaming and crying. Typically, they didn’t get their way but occasionally there’s a minor injury. It’s funny because the scream alone alerts the parents who belong to that child. We all know the voice of our own, don’t we?
Jesus says it’s the same with sheep and their shepherd. When a shepherd calls his sheep, they know his voice. They know to follow his lead. We don’t know the voices of those with whom we aren’t familiar, but we know the voices of those who are close. We know the voice of the one who has called our name thousands of times. Jesus says we are like the sheep and he is the shepherd. He knows us and we know him. He protects us, provides for us, and leads us. We need only follow.
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