At a recent meeting of Ministers the leader talked about feeding the sheep. I do not recall who he quoted by saying “Don’t set out to kill goats in the congregation. If you do, when the smoke clears you will have a bunch of dead sheep and the goats will still be standing there being goats.”
I am no expert in the area of goats and sheep although in my younger day our family had both for a time. One thing I know for sure is goats can cause a lot of frustration and sheep will follow both their masters voice and other sheep. That includes following sheep that are curious about what the goats are doing.
It’s been harder than ever these last few months to not take shots at the goats in my life. Most people have become firmly entrenched in their political and social views to the point of being downright nasty to others. This doesn’t surprise me much about those who claim no affiliation to Christianity but seriously there are a lot of folks sitting in our churches need to open their Bibles more and their mouths less.
Still, I understand the analogy Jesus was using when he told Peter “if you love me feed my sheep”. If only it were humanly possible to teach others how to love and respect all humans a preachers job would be easy. One reason God gave us His word is because left to ourselves all us sheep would perish.
A vivid memory I have of raising real sheep has taught me a valuable lesson in life. One day I got home from school and discovered one of our ewes had gotten stuck in a mud hole up to her belly. That sheep weighed about as much as me at the time but it would be a couple of hours before dad got home. So it was up to me to rescue the trapped sheep. After quite a struggle I managed to get that animal out of the mud. It lay there on the ground too exhausted to move. Being honest at that point it wouldn’t have bothered me if the dumb thing died right then. I was covered in mud and lost a boot as well.
Sometime after hosing myself off and changing clothes and taking care of my other chores, that sheep got her front legs stuck in the same muddy area. I put the ewe in a pen for the night and the next day built a fence around the muddy patch.
Over the years I have witnessed many times people acting like that dumb animal did. People will get themselves stuck in the mire and God will send them someone to help. Sometimes people will walk right back into the same muck they were just rescued from. I think that must be why God puts certain fences up in our lives, because we need protection from our own stubborn choices.
Rev. Burt Schwab