Barbados Blackbelly sheepSome years ago, after moving to the Inland Northwest, we settled on a five-acre parcel located next to the beautiful Spokane River. Much of our acreage was flat and was previously used as a horse pasture. To help reduce our property assessment, Louise and I decided to try our hands at ranching.

We purchased eight Barbados Black Belly sheep that eventually grew to adult size. This breed of sheep are exceptionally wary and are prized for their heavy coats and tremendous horns. We had hoped to eventually sell them to an exotic game farm where some hunter could harvest the animal for its meat and trophy horns.

I learned a lot about life — and God — from the upkeep of these critters. I planted seed and irrigated the land, so there was an ample food supply for them. We installed deep troughs that held enormous amounts of water. We fed the animals vitamins and antibiotics and enough enzymes to make even a rock grow.

You would think, in view of all the energy expended on their behalf, that these sheep would be grateful. Not so. Every time I came to the fence they would take off and run to the other side of the pasture. The only emotion they ever showed me was “fear”. Even though I feed them twice a day, they respond to each visit as though I were from outer space. I could not convince them of my true care and concern.

To these sheep, I am their deity. I’m too big for them, my actions too incomprehensible, and my boundaries too restricting. They have no courage to trust me. They see my acts of kindness as cruelty. They see my attempts to doctor their wounds as painful and destructive. They see my attempts to keep them safe and warm (building shelters and fences) as obstacles and barriers. Perhaps to give them understanding, I would have to become a sheep!

As ridiculous as that sounds, for a man to become a sheep is nothing compared to the Omnipotent God coming to earth as a helpless baby. The God of all creation humbled himself to become a man so that He could show us what He is like — so that we could know our true need of His salvation. He so loved mankind that despite His power, His presence, His sufficiency, and His divine transcendence, God took on the form of a lowly human being.

Christ came to earth to proclaim God’s desire to have intimate fellowship with His creation. It took Christ’s death on the cross to provide the sacrifice necessary for us to enjoy direct access to God. He came that we might know Him!

Scripture Reading: Philippians 2:5–8

Personal Application

  • Take time today to simply worship the Lord Jesus. Thank Him for humbling Himself to be born as a baby, and live and die for your sins.
  • Also, consider what you now know about God through Jesus Christ that you would not have otherwise known.

Jim Grassi image and signature  Jim Grassi, D. Min.

We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5