The following story comes from Julie Helms in Christian Reader, "Lite Fare":
My husband and I, with our two daughters, operate a small sheep farm. One day a non-farming friend asked, "How can you bear to slaughter those cute little lambs?"
My husband explained, "We don't want to get emotionally attached to the ones we plan to eat, so we don't give them names."
Not satisfied, the friend probed, "What about your kids?"
Her husband quickly replied, "Oh, we name them!"
While very few of us are personally familiar with sheep and shepherds, the relationship between the two is one of the most powerful images in the Bible used to describe the relationship between Christ and his followers. The loving care shown by shepherds to their flock, and the willingness of sheep to utterly depend on what the shepherd can provide offer a glimpse of our personal relationship with the good shepherd. While it may seem to be a small thing, our name plays a significant role in that relationship.
"He who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out." (John 10:2-3)
"He calls his own sheep by name." Though there are many disciples of Christ around the world, we are not just "one of the masses", not just a number. We are intimately known and loved by the good shepherd. He knows us by name. It tells us not only that he cares about us, but that he plans for his relationship with us to be a lasting one.
May the fact that your shepherd knows your name give you comfort this day.
Have a great day!