I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep.
–John 10:1, 2
I grew up in a city, but I have always been fascinated with farms. As a boy, one of my favorite places to visit was the home of my aunt and uncle who lived on a farm in the town of Ripley, Ohio. I enjoyed seeing the cattle, horses, and chickens, but I also loved to play with the numerous dogs and cats that roamed freely about. Everything about that farm was a wonder to me: the farmhouse, the barn, the animals, and the beautiful rolling countryside. All my memories of those visits bring back a flood of wonderful feelings.
One kind of animal my aunt and uncle did not keep was sheep. I cannot recall ever seeing any on their farm. Had they kept them, I am confident that would have known how to raise and care for them. My knowledge of livestock is limited, but I have heard it said that sheep always need care. They are vulnerable to attack from predators, they will wander away from the flock, and they can easily become lost. Without someone to look after them they would not stand much chance of survival.
Jesus lovingly referred to His followers as His sheep. In Christ we are a part of His flock, and as a part of the flock we are under His care. The Lord will always be there for us to shepherd us through the trials and problems of life. Understand also that the Lord is most protective of us; when the devil tries to sneak in and lure us away, the Lord is there is protect us. Were we to wander away, Jesus promised to come looking for us just as a good shepherd would go looking for a lost sheep. All are important in the flock of the Lord.
Do not give into the false idea that you are somehow not important to Christ. Nothing could be further from the truth. A good shepherd knows every sheep by name and cares for each one. So it is with us. Christ knows you, me, and all in His flock on a first-name basis. He knows all that causes us fear, worry, pain, and heartache, and He is there is comfort and guide.
The troubled soul can find comfort in the Lord’s flock. Look to Him today, and rest in the knowledge that He cares for you.