Saturday, August 05, 2006

What's with all these sheep?

Being a newly married couple, Arlen and I often share with each other our dreams and visions for the future. One thing that we share is a desire to have lots of land. We don’t care if we have a small house, we just want to live in a place in the country where we have a lot of space. What’s all the space for? That’s the fun part. There are so many uses! Of course we want to grow lots of food. Not acres and acres of it, but maybe some fruit trees and/or bushes and various veggies such as corn, squash, cabbage, lettuce, and of course tomatoes. It will be so much fun. We want to have a place that our kids can explore. So much can be learned, especially about God, in the great outdoors. We don’t want all of our land to just benefit us though. We want to create a place where people can come away from the fast pace of city life, the tangle of the world and enjoy a simple life for a week, maybe longer, and enjoy the chance to focus on spending time getting to know their savior better. Of course, with my love of kids, this dream home would be a place where kids could come. Kids from troubled homes (I’ve played with the idea of foster care, and we’re pretty sure we’re going to adopt at least one kid if that’s where God leads.) They don’t have to come alone, they can come with a class, or their families, or all sorts of things, but basically I want this to be a place where kids can find out what it means to truly feel love.

Oh, and I can’t forget the animals. That’s an important part of all of this – especially with the kids. Arlen and I have talked about many different kinds of animals that we might want to have on the “farm.” We’ve thought about goats, alpacas, and even sheep. Oh, by the way, I learned a LOT about sheep yesterday! I was reading in Luke 2. I’m especially referring to the part where the angels were telling the Shepards about the birth of Christ, and it got me thinking. There are shepards and sheep all over the Bible. Tons of people have sheep and the dedication of their caretakers proves that they were quite valuable, but why? As I researched this topic farther I found out a few things. The whole sheep was quite useful. It was a source of food, clothing, burnt offering and the hide was used for coverings on the tabernacle. This animal made a huge impact on the lives of many. But, as I read further, I found something even more remarkable. These sheep know their names. The Shepard names each sheep (no matter how many he has), and when he calls that sheep by it’s name, the little lamb joyfully comes to his Shepard. Wow, that’s crazy. Apparently these animals are quite faithful, loving and the trust their caretaker 100%.

Okay, if you’re like me this whole analogy of us being sheep and Jesus being the Shepard is beginning to become clearer. I want to love God like that. I want to learn to come right away, with joy when he calls me by name. I want to learn to trust him fully and to be filled with gentleness, meekness and faithfulness just like the little lamb. I guess a good place to start is letting God guide all of my hopes and dreams so that I can live a life that glorifies Him in every way.

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