Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: GREEN (01/19/17)
TITLE: Finding Pasture
By Elaine Hemingway
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Many years ago, when I lived on a farm in Zambia, it was a very simple life. No electricity, and no indoor running water except a tap over a bath in the bathroom. The toilet was the old fashioned, outside drop-box set inside a stone building with a wooden door. Spider webs adorned the ceiling, and one had to be aware of wasps who may be lurking in the corners, or snakes looking for a comfortable spot in which they could shed a skin. It was quite a few yards away from the house, so not very welcoming in the rainy season, and rather oven like in the heat of mid-summer.
We slept in a rondavel, a brick-built round room, with a thatched roof and separate from the main farm-house. Two of my children were born and raised there before we moved to another farm with electricity. It was a simple life; a pastoral life, and we didn’t consider the hardships but revelled in the simple pleasures.
We grew maize amongst other crops, sometimes ground nuts, and we raised beef cattle on lush central Africa pastures. Side-lines of chickens, and one year when I attempted turkeys, kept me busy as well as feeding family and workers. The countryside was rich and verdant. We had an acre or so of citrus trees interspersed with Paw-paws, where we kept a few sheep that enjoyed the grazing afforded them.
I learned a very valuable lesson there
One day my husband brought home a couple of goats, ostensibly to keep the grass down as the sheep were too few in number to keep the whole area trimmed. Kikuyu grass is very prolific and strong so we thought we had found a good solution. There was one problem. While the sheep had been happy to graze, which was their natural function, the goats found the lower branches of the citrus trees to be very tasty. Sheep being easily led they soon started copying the goats, reaching up on their hind legs to feed on the green leaves. Their soft mouths were not equipped for spiky citrus branches where tiny thorns of lemon or orange trees could rip their tender gums.
At first, I thought, Stupid sheep, why can’t they just enjoy what is good for them? Why allow themselves to be so easily led by false teachers? But then I thought, Whoops. What about Isaiah who said “We all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way… (Isaiah 53:6)
Yes, the sheep had a choice, but they chose to follow the goats without paying heed to the shepherd, us!
I am so glad that the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures…
Sheep are inclined to wander, to such an extent that they will blindly follow a leader until they are lost and can’t find their way home, still looking for the greener grass. Ours were kept in a fenced area, and the fence was checked regularly in case they got stuck in a hole and wouldn’t think of reversing out. But what about us? If we wander we have a Shepherd who knows us by name, and is waiting to guide us back into the fold.
I lost my way for a while but am so glad my Shepherd found me and brought me home, a wiser and stronger sheep, content to feed on His Word.
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