Draw Close to God

A Shepherd Who Cares

Matthew 18:12-14

‘DOES God care about me?’ If you have ever asked yourself that question, you are not alone. Many of us have faced hardships and challenges, and at times we may wonder whether the Creator of this vast universe takes notice of us. We need to know, Does Jehovah God care about us as individuals? When on earth, Jesus, who knows Jehovah best, gave an illustration that reveals the heartwarming answer.

Drawing on the realities of pastoral life, Jesus said: “If a certain man comes to have a hundred sheep and one of them gets strayed, will he not leave the ninety-nine upon the mountains and set out on a search for the one that is straying? And if he happens to find it, I certainly tell you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that have not strayed. Likewise it is not a desirable thing with my Father who is in heaven for one of these little ones to perish.” (Matthew 18:12-14) Let us see how Jesus here paints a portrait of Jehovah’s tender concern for each of His worshippers.

The shepherd felt a sense of responsibility toward each of his sheep. If a sheep strayed, he would know which one was missing. He knew each sheep by the name he had given it. (John 10:3) The caring shepherd would not rest until the wanderer was back in the flock. By going out to look for the stray, he would not be endangering the 99 left behind. Shepherds often stayed together, allowing their flocks to mingle. * So the shepherd who set off in search of a stray could temporarily leave his remaining sheep in the care of his fellow shepherds. Upon finding the lost sheep unharmed, the shepherd would have reason to rejoice. Putting the frightened creature on his shoulder, he would carry it back to the safety and security of the flock.​—Luke 15:5, 6.

Applying the illustration, Jesus said that God does not want “one of these little ones to perish.” Earlier, Jesus had warned his disciples against stumbling “one of these little ones who put faith in [him].” (Matthew 18:6) What, then, does Jesus’ illustration teach us about Jehovah? He is a Shepherd who deeply cares about each of his sheep, including the “little ones”​—those who may seem of little importance from the world’s standpoint. Yes, in God’s eyes, each of his worshippers is distinct and precious.

If you long to be reassured that you matter to God, why not learn more about the Great Shepherd, Jehovah God, and how you can draw closer to him? By so doing, you may come to have confidence like that of the apostle Peter, who no doubt heard firsthand Jesus’ illustration of the lost sheep. Peter later wrote: “Throw all your anxiety upon [God], because he cares for you.”​—1 Peter 5:7.

[Footnote]

^ par. 3 Separating the flocks was not a problem, since each sheep responded to the distinctive call of its own shepherd.​—John 10:4.