The little flock she’s had for a while, that is.
Meaning, she doesn’t just recognize their faces and overall appearance enough to recite their labels. She knows them by the natures their names reflect. Like Zeus (whose name hints at his size and dominance…)
Or Jump (famous for her interacting with fences).
Or Lulu (Self-explanatory?) Or Teacup. (That name? I don’t know its significance! But Shepherdess Sue does.)
And they draw near to her and she draws near to them. And she feeds them and pets them and talks to them, by name, one at a time. Familiar individuals.
She still recognizes most as individuals. (“Oh, that’s 120. That’s 95.” Etc.)
But the numbers keep increasing…
Ever feel like a number?
Jesus called His followers His “little flock.”
Lilias Trotter, never achieving in her missions ministry the big numbers we love too much today, insurmountable hindrances choking out the possibility, asked one who would know, there in that exotic land she now called home: would the local expression translating “little flock” “mean such a little flock that it would not be worth the shepherd’s care?”
The answer: “No, if it were a very little flock, the shepherd cares for it all the more” [A Passion for the Impossible, p. 216].
So who’s the “little flock” Jesus was talking about in Luke 12? When Peter asked if was it that huge crowd or this inner circle of disciples, Jesus answered, as so often, with another question. “Who’s the faithful and wise steward…?”
Implied answer: whoever follows Him in faithfulness is His little flock.
And Matthew Henry comments, “Christ’s flock in this world is a little flock; his sheep are but few and feeble…
“Though… quite [out]-numbered, …in danger of being overpowered…, yet it is the will of Christ that they should not be afraid: ‘Fear not, little flock, but see yourselves safe under the protection and conduct of the great and good Shepherd, and lie easy… Fear not the [lack] of any thing… good for you.”
But unlike sheep with a human shepherd, we don’t have to wait in line. The omniscient, omnipresent, all-loving Keeper of our souls, Who transcends time, can hear, and love, and answer all the needs of all his flock at once.
What shalom, to rest assured of such Shepherd care, in times of numbers and heartlessness and uncertainty, to “fear not the lack of anything good”! Let me never forget His care in the past. Let me just follow my Shepherd… and trust.
“He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” (John 10:3)
“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)