Sometimes God uses the most seemingly insignificant things to remind me of His great love for me—at work last week an encounter I had with a little pirate probably about 6 years old was one of those times.
Just in case you don’t spend 5 days a week in Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom, here a couple of things you should know to be able to follow along with my story:
- Captain Jack Sparrow does not do meet and greets—so you can’t just wait in line for a chance to meet him.
- He does do a Pirate Tutorial several times each day to instruct eager young and young at heart individuals in the art of the pirate trade. This is the only time you can really see the Captain. He chooses a few children each show to teach how to sword fight. At the end of each show and in addition to the lucky few who just learned how to sword fight, he invites several people on stage to take an oath and join his crew.
- My day job is being a pirate.
Now that the boring stuff is out of the way, back to the story—last week I was walking around Caribbean Plaza when a little boy approached me and asked if I liked pirates. I said “Of course! I am a pirate, so…”
“Well I met Captain Jack Sparrow today!”
“You did?! The Captain doesn’t get out much on account of that king’s ransom on his head…”
“Well I joined his crew and he taught me how to sword fight and HE KNOWS MY NAME! HE KNOWS MY NAME!”
I spent about 10 minutes talking pirates with Jeffrey and his dad. The whole experience was magical because of Jeffrey’s pure joy at having met Captain Jack Sparrow and joining his crew; but several other children also got the chance to join the crew at the end of the Pirate Tutorial—when only a few like Jeffrey were invited up for the Jack Sparrow to teach them how to sword fight.
So what truly made Jeffrey’s eyes light up was that Captain Jack saw him and chose him and now knew his name. That’s what he kept telling everyone, “Captain Jack knows me. He knows my name!”
I wish I could do a better job of painting with words how excited Jeffrey was that Captain Jack knew his name, but hopefully you get the picture. The root of his joy wasn’t knowing or seeing Jack Sparrow—many people saw the Captain that day; the root of his joy sprouted from being seen and being known.
After Jeffrey and his dad went on their way, I was replaying our meeting in my head and God brought to my mind Jesus’ words from John 10:
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all of his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. (John 10:1-5, ESV, emphasis mine)
Then later in the chapter Jesus continues:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:10-16, ESV, emphasis mine)
Through Jeffrey, God reminded me that I have much more cause for rejoicing and celebration. God knows my name! HE KNOWS MY NAME!
I am fully known by God and STILL fully loved by him because of Christ’s redeeming work on the cross.
And as if it couldn’t get any better, he invites me to know him better through his Word. The Creator and Sustainer of the universe invites me into an abundant life of knowing him—not just knowing things about him, but truly knowing him. As Jesus prayed in the garden before he was lead away to be crucified—“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3, ESV)
Sometimes (ok…a lot more than sometimes) I get distracted, but God is gracious and patient and gently reminds me, “Sarah, you’re mine. I know you. Come know me better.”
This is amazing. This is the root of my joy—God sees me and chose me and calls me by name and wants me to know him and enjoy him. This is cause for rejoicing!
“…but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20b, ESV)