Today I had the blessed opportunity to sit and chat with a great guy, Jason Elkins. He is an amazing guy, great friend, and Social Media guru! But our conversation today did not center on business, but rather on our common bond in Christ. Which is what I love the most. We both got to share about how God is stripping away the old to replace it with the new, thus making us more like His Son, Jesus Christ.
During our conversation, I got to share briefly on one of my lessons from sheep that God has blessed me with over the past 4 years of raising them. I have to admit, when I first got into raising sheep, I knew absolutely nothing about them or why God had put them on my mind. However, it did not take long for me to realize the benefit was completely for my walk with Him. He taught me so much through a quiet voice that I could only hear when walking with my sheep.
Among then many lessons I learned, several came through one Ewe in particular. I called her Sweet Heart!
Sweet Heart was a hair sheep crossed with a wool sheep. She carried a heavy load of hair all year long and stood out appearance wise from the rest. Prior to getting her name, she was extremely shy and stand offish of me. Rarely could I get her to come close to me because she was so skittish. However, one day when I decided to train my border collie, I called in the sheep with some feed. Sadly for Sweet Heart she was one of the last 3 still at the trough when I closed the pen up. When working my Border Collie I would always just train him on a hand full. Once sweet heart realized there was no escape, she drew in close to the other two sheep.
I set the dog to working and would have him bring them close to me and lie down, then release him and then do it again. Over and over the sheep were driven to be by my side. After about 10 minutes of work, I had him bring them back to me again and I gave him the command to lie down and hold them in place. As I was praising the dog, I suddenly felt something leaning against my leg. It was Sweet Heart! This was the moment I gave her the name. She was so afraid of the dog she chose to have me as her place of refuge. I sat there and rubbed her like a pet and she was content to stay by my side. From this day forth, she always was the first by my side when I went to the field and called for the sheep.
About a year later, I was out one day in the field and all the sheep had gathered under a shade tree. As I went out to be with them, I said these words, "I sure would like to come sit with you guys, but I know if I did you would all get up and run away!" About that time, my karakachan guard dog waltzed up to the sheep and started pawing at the tree. I realized my daughters had left a food bag in the tree and all I could see was an expensive surgery, so I was forced to approach the sheep and that tree.
As I walked up, as I expected, all the sheep got up and scattered! I dug the bag out of the tree and put it in my pocket, then turned. Standing right there behind me was Sweet Heart. She had stood up but had not moved. I turned around and sat on a stump under that tree we had and began to talk to her. She was only 3-4 ft away and she looked at me and laid back down. So as a farmer is prone to do, I just started talking to her. Suddenly I noticed something happening. All the other sheep slowly started to come back to the tree and lay back down in a circle around me. There I was, surrounded by my sheep, even the most skittish ones. I was so excited I just started talking to them one by one, calling their individual names.
That is when I heard God speak in that quiet voice I only heard in the field, "You see son, it only takes one who is willing to sit at my feet and draw close to me and the rest will follow!"
God can sometimes seem like that shepherd that is scary to be approached by. Many times He draws close, but the mere wonder of His presence tends to cause His children to scatter. Being close to Him can seem to be a scary thing! However, as he said in that quiet field in the hills of Tennessee, it only takes one who is willing to sit at His feet, and the rest will follow!