Last week I went down to the Erie county fair. There were shops and rides and things, but of it all there were farm animals. The farmers in my good county were coming to get prizes for their animals. Each type had its own building. Now I live in the city, I know there’s farms in Erie county, but Im not really often exposed to them. Though im not entirely a city boy, Yet somehow writing this, I feel like I’ve become a simpleton in my old age of almost… 3-0.
First I saw the horses. They were BIG horses. Not sure of the name but the Budweiser type horses… (Clyndale?). Tripping over a million little kids I couldn’t get a decent picture of them. Admittedly, I wasn’t as impressed, I’ve ridden horses plenty before. They were something just not very new to me.
Then I went to the pig stables. Part of the pig contest was the farmers had to draw out parts of the pig to butcher. Each farm animal had a slightly different rule, I suppose that’s really the only useful thing about Pigs. It seemed to me the fat little things only got up to eat. They were either laying down sleeping or eating. They wouldnt even wake up and move to poop- they just went on themselves and rolled in it eventually. I walked in thinking “Hey I Like Pigs”, I walked out thinking ” Pigs are only good enough for the slaughter house”. As cruel as that may sound, that seems to be their only function and goal in life besides laying around accumulating fat.
After Pigs there were the Rabbits and Guinea Pigs. Erie County surprisingly has a very large Rabbit farm industry. It’s a huge deal here in fact! Who knew? Certainly not me, nor did I know rabbit farms existed, but here they are right here in my own voting district. Oh and Guinea Pigs too. A lady told me, many hamsters and Guinea Pigs bought in America come from Erie county farmers. The Rabbits are farmed for meat, fur, but mostly for fertilizer. So these bunnies are where gardeners buy their crap from 😀 (bad joke?) Yes bunnies are farmed for Pets too, but mostly its all about the poop.
Finally I made it to the sheep and goats building. I couldn’t help at gravitate towards the sheep side of things. They were so ADORABLE!! Fluffy, and gentle and playful. The goats were nice but they just had something about them, like they didn’t want to be bothered. Sheep on the other hand acted so happy I was there to see them. Like visiting an old friend I never met before. I was speaking to a Shepardes who was kind enough to let me in the pen with her sheep. She was showing me something about the hooves – very nice girl (she ended up winning Show championship for her sheep BTW). Anyway, a sheep brought over a ball like a dog wanting to play fetch 😀 of course I threw it across the pen and sure enough he brought it back to me!! 😀 (made my whole day)
There’s things I noticed about sheep. They come in 3s where ever they go. There wasn’t any particular leader. If one moved 2 would follow and then the rest go along. They kinda bump into each other to get each others attention. Like when a person pats another’s shoulder and says “lets go this way”. Usually in such situations it starts with 1 getting another attention, the person next to them notices and follows – 6 others look over and go along with the other 3 not entirely knowing why but curious anyway.
As Christians Jesus calls us his sheep. He didn’t pull this out of a hat, in fact it was just an observation he made about the crowds of people coming to see him.
” But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no Sheppard. Then saith he unto his disciples, the harvest truely is plenteous, but the laborers are few, pray ye therefore the lord of harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest”
Henceforth from this moment Jesus begins to refer to us as sheep. Christian = Sheep BAAAAA!!!!! Everyone else = Viper, Wolf, scorpion…. (crazy mix of savages)
I could see plainly what Jesus was talking about, and what he was observing. I can imagine what sheep with out a shepard would look like just in how they seem to behave and how people work.
Sheep without a Shepard just wonder in herds randomly. There’s no particular leader, its who ever bump’s in to another and walks along the rest of the flock will follow for no apparent reason. They could easily all flock along off the edge of a cliff, not really questioning to themselves – why the flock is falling right in front of them- as they themselves soon meet their fall.
Sometimes sheep don’t know where to go. The herd panics and randomly bumps each other. There’s so many sheep bumping and moving around they get stressed and cry to each other. They jumble up and there’s a wave of chaos among the flock, so much so some sheep faint or die. In such a situation a Shepard sends in the dogs to give the flock a jolt and direction to move. He may come in with his stick and smack a few sheep on the bum to get them to start thinking clearly.
The crowds of people coming to see Jesus were like such a flock. Chaotic and without order not entirely sure what to do or where to go. Kinda like a large group of fans and paparazzi surrounding Britney Spears when she’s out in public. Their crying, their happy, cheering, booing, pushing each other out of the way to get a glimpse, peeing their pants, and hugging each other because their so happy sad or other, cutting bits of her hair to save, fighting over a piece of chewing gum she dropped on the ground… Meanwhile all Britney is trying to do is go to the bathroom at a gas station- she has a bouncer to beat people off her just to clear a path.This is why Britney doesn’t often go out in public anymore, like many celebrities. Some wear disguises just to go grocery shopping – or so I’ve read.
I could easily see the disciples of Jesus playing the role of bouncer from time to time with Jesus. Yes Jesus was much like a celebrity at his time. However Jesus, unlike Britney, welcomed the crowd. I’m certain he made exceptions like going to the bathroom, (the bible doesn’t say but I doubt he wanted an audience joining him in the outhouse)… But otherwise, it only phased him by affirming to him he needs to lead these people, not hide from them with disguises.
Which leads me to the next thing wolves in sheep clothing. One should think Jesus made another observation about people and sheep. It is because sheep will follow just about anything that moves, without question as to what’s in that direction – easily they fall prey to wolves. What if a wolf were to wear a disguise as a sheep and tell the other sheep “don’t mind me I’m just grazing like the rest of you, BAHH”. The sheep wouldn’t question it much. At this point all the wolf has to do is bump another and walk a certain direction and the whole flock will follow. And say that direction were towards his hungry wolf buddies?
The sheep are not guilty of leading each other to the slaughter house, the wolf however is. The reason being this is what sheep do, its not their fault- their too good natured and trusting to think another sheep would plot such an evil scheme. The wolf knows full well of this and takes advantage. He has observed sheep’s flocking behavior and tactfully set his evil plot into motion. yet just the same the sheep are dead 😦
People do this all the time! I question are we really just talking about false prophets? Your best friend can be a wolf in sheeps clothing and lead you into a road of heroine addiction. Jesus knew this about us, most of us are easily lead astray, and its part of why people need a Shepard!
So when Jesus says ” I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves” he’s telling the disciples to be less “follow the heard”.
Did you know Sheep can be trained to herd other sheep?
It’s not common practice with farmers but it can be done. I was reading a story about a farmer who took one of his sheep in his house while it was sick. The farmer took a particular liking to that sheep and it became more of a pet then livestock. So he treated it the same as a dog. One day he said to himself “lets turn this sheep into a sheep dog”, and well the sheep was pretty good at herding the flock with the other dogs (or with the dogs :-p ). The sheep indeed, thought he was a Sheep dog, with all the gentle goodness of a sheep.
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Matthew 10:16
There is 2 ways to look at the story of Jesus. One way is it was all about him, the other way is it was all about the emergence of the disciples. “I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves” Jesus says to his disciples, and indeed they wernt entirely sure what he was talking about when he said it. Yet throughout the story, the crowds that followed Christ, not many of the multitude made it into Jesus’s inner circle of 12. Through it all, Jesus is training the disciples – yet they don’t really know it until the book of Acts. Think of all the thousands in Israel that praised Christ and surrounded him everywhere he went, How so quickly many dropped him once he was on the cross. He was no longer Britney Spears, more like Christina Agulera – the used up has been and Yesterday’s headline.
Not all but many of them forgot all about Christ. And when the disciples went back through Israel talking about Jesus, some of the same people in the crowd hailing him as “Messiah”- were mocking the disciples just by mentioning his name. The disciples began to understand perfectly, the message could not die in Israel. And so they went throughout the entire known world and spread the Gospel and became Apostles. The good Shepard wasn’t just flocking the thousands that came to see him, he was mostly flocking just 12 men.
This is where the story of Christ becomes history rather myth.
So little sheep, your part of a flock that’s 2000 years old, and has multiplied and grown from just 12 sheep. We have a farmer that values us for more then just our wool. He promises us he will never send us to a butcher either. 😀 can you imagine how that would work on a real sheep farm? If there is a sheep farmer reading this you know this model of farm does not exist on earth. We are more like a massive flock of sheep pets then livestock in the kingdom of God 😀 sheep that think they are sheep dogs! we were herded in by bumping randomly off another, rounded up by other sheep, a guided by a good Shepard we barely knew at first. It all began by the Shepard training 12 sheep to be sheep herders. From those 12 you carry a torch fire!! Your torch carries the fire of the holy spirit given to them by Jesus Christ, passed down from generation to generation. Say BAAAAA if your proud to carry that TORCH as a sheep in Christs flock!!! Let no one, put your torch out! Hosanna to the highest! BAAAAAA!!! Amen.