I think Friday (6/21/13) was the first time I heard the story of the 3-year-old boy (Grayson from North Carolina) who was born without the nerve responsible for transmitting sound from his ears to his brain. Recently Grayson had a procedure intended to allow him hear for the first time. I don’t remember the name of the procedure or how it works, but what I will never forget is the look on the boy’s face when he was able to hear for the very first time. I’m sure the words had been spoken over – signed to – him countless times before, but for the first time Grayson heard “Daddy loves you. Daddy loves you.” The look on his face was priceless! Sheer joy at the sound of his father’s voice.
I cried immediately thinking about how sweet the sound will be when we, as believers in Jesus Christ, hear audibly the voice of God our Father, saying, “Daddy loves you.” … And then I cried again because I realized that there are people whom God loves who have never heard that God loves them.
In Tentmakers (and on this blog) we have been studying the missionary journeys of the apostle Paul. Last week we read in Acts 20:24 that Paul’s goal had become to, “finish [his] course with joy and the ministry which [he had] obtained from … the Lord Jesus, faithfully to attest to the Good News of God’s grace” (Amplified). His ambition was to make sure that people who had never heard the Gospel would hear (Rom 15:20). This week studying Acts 20:28-21:1, in which Luke records the remainder of Paul’s farewell to the Ephesian elders, we see that Paul uses a flock-shepherd analogy (familiar in Scripture) to explain the role of the Ephesian elders from this point on. In verse 28 alone, Paul tells them who their flock is, what they are to do with them, and why they should take their position so seriously. If you flip over to 1 Peter 5:1-3, you’ll also see how elders were to tend their flock. All of this looks forward to the time “when the Chief Shepherd is revealed” (1 Peter 5:4).
Now What? Well, I asked the class today to think about the flock over which God has appointed each one of them as a shepherd. I ask you to consider the same question. Along with that, think about the what, why, and how discussed in the paragraph above. What are you to do with the flock? Why is it so important? How are you to lead? And I’m quite sure that “when the Chief Shepherd is revealed” – and we are blessed by seeing His face – we will also hear the voice of God, saying “Daddy loves you!”
Finally, I realized that not every reading this is well-versed in Scripture, so if you’re one who has never heard that God loves you, don’t take my word for it. Take His:
“God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10, NLT)
No matter who you are. No matter what you’ve done. Regardless of whether or not you love yourself … or have ever been loved by any person. God loves you!
TIME Magazine link: