pic from powerpoint clipartHave I ever told you how much I love to watch the Olympics? I especially like to watch gymnastics. I'm so amazed at their skills, especially since I only mastered the forward roll, backward roll, headstand, and cartwheel. (I showed the girls my headstand a few weeks ago. I think I should retire). I've been watching gymnastics since Mary Lou Retton scored her perfect 10s in the 1984 Olympics.
When I heard the commentators for gymnastics a few days ago, I asked the girls if they recognized the voices. Of course they didn't. They've never heard Bart Conner speak. When I told them, "Bart Conner," my nine-year-old began giggling. "Oh, no," she said. Her cousins hadn't heard my Bart Conner story so I shared....
I loved watching Bart Conner in the 1984 Olympics. In my ten-year-old opinion, his blond hair and muscular body made him the best looking one on the team. My crush continued. In 1989, as a freshman in High School, my dream came true. I had the privilege of attending the 1989 U.S. Olympic Festival in Oklahoma City. And guess what! I saw Bart Conner. Squeeling with excitement, I ran to get in line to get his autograph. I got to talk to BART CONNER.
And most recently (just a few years ago, actually), I rushed as usual to pick up my daughter at school. This particular day I had time to take a shower before I left the house, but jumped into my van with wet hair and no make-up on. I passed the line of cars waiting for school to let out and headed down the one-lane that entered the parking lot when a lady waved me down. She asked me to back up to let Bart Conner out of the parking lot. BART CONNER? Really? I backed my van up and turned into a giddy teenager again. Sure enough. Bart, in his black Cadilac SUV drove my way. When I saw his blond hair, I began waving for him to see me. (not a small, polite, "hello" wave. But a "look here," a can't believe this is happening wave). And guess what! He stopped and rolled down his window. (He must have thought, "Do I know this lady?" She acts like I do). Shocked that this was happening, I yelled, "I used to watch you when I was little." Realizing he didn't know me, he politely said, "Hi." And just as quickly, "Have a good day." As he drove off, I began laughing. I can only imagine what he was thinking. Here's a crazy lady with wet hair, no make-up, blocking the road to tell me, "I used to watch you when I was little?" And me, I acted like a crazed teenager that had just seen a good looking guy, but chose the stupidest words to say (no wonder I didn't date much in high school and college).
My daughters, embarrassed by my Bart Conner story, continued watching the Olympics with my twelve-year-old and seven-year-old nieces. I just laughed.
How does this story tie to the Bible? In John 10, Jesus is the good shepherd. John 10:2-4 says, " But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice". Just like I recognized Bart's voice, do I recognize Jesus' voice?
Later in John 10: 9-11, Jesus says, "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly 11 “ I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep." Do I recognize Jesus' salvation? He layed his life down for me.
More importantly, does Jesus recognize me? Matthew 7:21-23 says “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’" (emphasis mine)
Even though I called out his name, Bart Conner didn't recognize me. Does Jesus recognize me as a follower with a changed heart? One who listens to His voice and obeys?
What about you? Have you accepted the shepherd's sacrifice for your sin? Do you listen and follow the good shepherd, Jesus? Does He recognize you?