Friday, July 12, 2013

The Reason I Raise Sheep

*Warning: part of this post is not for the squeamish! If necessary, skip to the ****. Thank you!*

A couple of days ago one of the sheep had flystrike on his head - between his horns.  Apparently they'd not been there long enough to start hurting him, because he wasn't in distress yet.  (Flystrike happens when there is a patch of wet wool, or raw skin like a wound.  The flies lay eggs and the maggots hatch out and start eating decaying matter. The real trouble starts when they begin eating the healthy tissues.)  In the Lord's great kindness, all we had to do was spray the area with some stuff to kill the maggots and keep flies away, and he is (almost) back to normal - we just have to wait for the blue dye to wear off!  :)


This latest episode in the sheep saga has reminded me of a question I got recently which caught me rather off guard: why do I keep sheep if they are so much trouble? Wouldn't it be much easier to just get rid of them, or keep some other animal that wouldn't require so much work, or have so many problems?

The short answer is, of course it would be easier not to raise sheep.  It would be so simple to choose  not to go through the pain and heartache that accompanies raising animals who often end up on the predator's plate.  So why go through it?

The long answer:  Originally I started with sheep because my parents said I needed to learn responsibility, and sheep were (and are!) much less expensive than a horse, which was my first choice.  But the sheep we got became pets, and when I got older it became apparent to me that I would miss them very much if I had to sell them.  More than that, in learning responsibility the Lord taught me commitment.  It doesn't matter if I want to go out and check on each of them every day - that is the job description.  I agreed to do that by keeping them.  Even in the winter.  Even in a storm.  Even when I don't feel like it. I am responsible before the Lord for their lives on my farm, and were I to neglect them it would be a sin. And you know what?  The Lord gives grace even to adjust my attitude to feel like doing my duty when I ask Him to with a willing and open heart. 

It may be easier to get away from what makes me uncomfortable, like dealing with some of the problems the sheep get sometimes, but running away is not an option for a Christian.  The Lord calls us to deal with the problems He allows us to face, and teaches us how to deal with them in the Bible.  For the sheep, who know my voice and come when I call, my duty is to protect them to the best of my ability and to treat their problems to the best of my ability.  No, I do not accomplish this perfectly in this life.  But one lesson the sheep have taught me how important it is not to take the easy way out.  Difficult situations are hard to face, but often when they are met with God's grace and dealt with God's way they become the basis for something so much better than I could have imagined before.  The animals can be affectionate, and I still consider most of them my pets.  They provide wool for me to spin, and help me see the bigger picture when my life feels claustrophobic.  And the lambs are so cute each spring!


Monday, July 1, 2013

RFBC 2013

Two weeks ago my family and I had the opportunity to attend the 11th  Reformed Family Bible Conference.  The theme this year was the book of Hebrews.  Eight different pastors took turns preaching through the book over the course of four days, covering ten lectures.

It was encouraging on many levels.  The teaching was pertinent and applicable to our times and to me personally, besides having the joy of seeing good friends that I usually only see at conference.  

The sermons this year were expounding the book of Hebrews, extending courage and perseverance for weary Christians tempted to turn away from the faith.  

Here are two links to different sermons from the week.