I’m not a city girl. I’d much prefer to live on a farm, and if I did, a few sheep would be on the property along with a well-trained border collie to keep them in line.
How I acquired my love of lambs, I’m not sure, could be it stems from the nursery rhyme, “Mary Had a Little Lamb” or the once popular painting of Jesus carrying a small lamb in his arms with more surrounding his feet. I received a tiny print of it when a child which I tucked away in my Bible for years. Memorizing Psalm 23 probably swayed me too with its portrayal of a loving shepherd.
But it wasn’t until I read “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23” by Phillip Keller did I gain a more accurate view of sheep and the role of a shepherd. The book educated me on the potential dangers these creatures face and their daily needs, plus the arduous work a shepherd does to care and watch over them. It’s been decades since I first read the former bestseller but still embedded in my mind is this one fact: sheep are notoriously stubborn! And not too smart. Characteristics, along with other lamb traits, we humans--myself included-- often exhibit. We’ve another similarity: we both need a compassionate shepherd in order to survive.
That fact again surfaced on Facebook a few days ago while watching “Enjoy the Shepherd,” by Ray Carman. He’s a sheep rancher in Tennessee who creates short videos, mostly about lessons he learns as he tends his flock. The particular video I viewed was about a female Ewe which rejects one of her newborn lambs.
While Ray talks into the camera, explaining what’s transpiring with the animals behind him, the Ewe repeatedly shoves her baby lamb into a fence forcing it away from its siblings. My heart reacted with empathy as I watched the innocent lamb suffer rejection. Thankfully, the lamb has a tender shepherd (Ray) who came to his rescue and cared for it until strong enough to return to the pasture.
Carefully and with sensitivity Ray brings the topic of rejection closer to home by stating how it may be a part of our story. We may be just like that lamb, unloved and unwanted, desperate for someone to truly care about us, redeem us, and watch over us as his own. Ray wraps up his short videos by reminding his viewers how rejection was a part of Christ’s life as he quotes this verse from the Bible:
“He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.” Isaiah 53:3 (New Living Translation)
Soon after I finished seeing more videos by Ray this picture of a lamb at church showed up in my Facebook feed.
My friend, Mary Yamada, captured the shot of the animal occupying her pew at Eastridge Baptist Church in Kent, Washington. The one-day-old lamb was the runt of the litter requiring constant care in order to survive. Knowing it was too risky to leave the lamb at home alone the family brought him along to church. What a lovely way to celebrate Palm Sunday and have a visual reminder of Christ, who is called The Lamb of God. Makes me think of these verses in I Peter:
“For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” I Peter 1:18-19 (NLT)
It’s that Lamb of God who I prefer to focus on this Easter, rather than bunnies, colored eggs, or candy. While not anti these aspects of the holiday it does sadden me to see them take precedence over a day set aside to honor and celebrate Christ’s resurrection.
Which is why I wanted to write about a lambs today. And why a few artificial ones can be seen around my house this time of year. Here are two of my favorites which added a bit of sweetness to my March kitchen décor.
It’s doubtful that I will ever own a ranch or raise lambs. But that’s all right. What’s more important is knowing and enjoying my Good Shepherd.
P.S. I thought you’d like to know the lamb rejected by her Mama is doing fine and goes by the name of Precious.
On the blog last Easter: “A Question for Mel Gibson,producer of The Passion of the Christ”