Can We Learn From Sheep?
As many of you know I am very fond of sheep and dismiss people who call them "stupid". Brain-wise they may not be the brightest but I believe they can have compassion. I took this photo whilst walking through a flock of sheep with my dogs. The three lambs were playing on the rubble and when they didn't respond to their mother's bleating she ran in front of us and scrambled up to her lambs, which was no easy feat for her. It is unusual for triplets to survive as the mother only has two teats and, if they do there is always one who is smaller and weaker. This mother's instinct was to go to the smallest and comfort it because she knew that the other two were more capable of running away by themselves. Like the shepherd in the parable of the lost sheep she went after the one, the weakest and most vulnerable. While sheep are usually connected in relation to the Father or Jesus being the shepherd and we the sheep I believe this picture shows the motherheart of God.
The next day I was walking through a different field of sheep and lambs. There were four lambs lying together with a sheep nearby. When she saw us she called to the lambs who ran to her. They obviously were not all hers but she stood her ground, protecting the lambs as best she could by stamping her hoofs at us, and she started bleating again until another sheep, who was some distance away, came running to collect her lambs. This has now happened several times. I'm not sure if they are the same sheep but it is almost as if there is some "child-minding" system going on! The sheep was prepared to protect all the lambs although they were not all hers. I think we can learn much from watching other forms of creation. I suspect we all had these protective, compassionate instincts of a mother before we became so "modernised" and "sophisticated". Obviously many still do, particularly most mothers, but unfortunately not all. We have lost that natural instinct to care, protect and love the weak and vulnerable.
Just before Jesus tells the story of the lost sheep the disciples are arguing over who is the greatest among them and Jesus calls a small child to himself and explains that unless they (and us) become like little children then they will not enter the kingdom of heaven. I have just read something which has blown my mind! I signed up for a series of discussions on George MacDonald's Unspoken Sermons with Baxter Kruger, Paul Young and John MacMurray. I had had his book since Baxter kindly spoke on one of my Zooms but although it's been updated the language isn't always easy so I had only glanced through it. Each week they are discussing two sermons and one of last week was "The Child in the Midst". When Jesus calls the child to stand among them he says, "Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me" George goes on to say "in my name" means "representing me" therefore "being like me" so Jesus is saying that He also has the heart of a child and in saying that "Whoever receives me, receives not me but Him who sent me" He is also saying that the Father has the heart of a child, in fact God is child-like. And as He lives in us then we too will become child-like. I know us becoming like children is one of the key points in Fatherheart Ministries but had never grasped that our Father, Mother, Redeemer, Friend - "our infinite love-perfect God" is our ultimate example of how to be child-like. Some of you may have already grasped this but this is revelation to me and now I see it I cannot "un-see" it. The other sermon that was discussed was The Consuming Fire where all that is not our true selves will be burned so we can become the true selves He made us to be, child-like just like Him.
This is the link to signing up for the discussions. It is midnight in the UK or 4pm Pacific Time but you get to listen to them afterwards and join the Facebook page. I think you can join up until 23rd May. They are then doing eight more sessions in September and October.