Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Cost of a Sheep

The cost of a sheep varies, but on average a “Katahdin cross” ewe is worth about $300.[1]

I was driving into a nearby town recently. I noticed a crowd of about three dozen gathered around a food giveaway program. People of all ages and descriptions stood in line to receive the weekly ration of free food being offered by a local charity.

I spent the next two hours with co-workers at our missions’ facility about a mile further up the street. We offered conversation, a listening ear, and prayer, and an opportunity to hear the “Good News” of Jesus Christ.  We gave stuff away too:  drinks, snacks, and biblical literature.

A few people came. I spent 45 minutes talking to a 60-ish, self-professed alcoholic named John. He had a long white beard. I thought of Moses in the Bible. We reminisced about our youthful years. Ironically we had had the same “favorite band,” The Who. It was a touch point.

I sought to explain my life since becoming a Christian, and told him how that in the mid-1970’s, the Lord had changed me. He mentioned a man from the Rescue Mission who had helped him so much. I said, “Why don’t you go over to the Mission and ask him how you can help? You can help many of the guys in there.” He made no comment on that. Finally I prayed for him as he had requested me to do in the beginning. As soon as I said, “Amen,” he continued a story. It didn’t seem he listened.

Another man with a hoodie pulled over his eyes entered and sat down.  He was visibly shaking. When he talked his voice was a heart-rending sob. As my friend talked with the distraught man, I thought, “He should be under supervised care, and yet he’s walking around the streets.”

I left and drove back up Main Street. I saw another cluster of 20 or so people gathered around a table with a “Free Cell Phones,” sign.

A block farther on, a sign hanging on the front of a bank promised, “We’ll Pay You To Open An Account.”

I felt sad. People here are being given things. I thought of the word “entitlement.”

When I served in India as a missionary, we saw many charitable works. We avoided the ones that created dependency like the plague. The best ones sought to help people to help themselves. It has something to do with self-respect that is rooted in the value of a person, which in turn, is rooted in the Gospel.

That’s probably why I felt sad. The people of this Pennsylvania town are loveable and worthy of respect. The man who looked like Moses and the crying man may be messed up, but there is a God-given value they have that is incalculable. Jesus once said, “What man among you, if he had a sheep that fell into a pit ... wouldn’t take hold of it and lift it out?  A man is worth far more than a sheep …”[2]

A man is worth far more than a sheep.

Our efforts to help people must never lose sight of this.









[1] https://www.quora.com/How-much-does-a-sheep-cost
[2] Matthew 12:11-12 (Holman Christian Study Bible)

Quotes of Note ... The Invisible World

“Spiritual warfare is learning to recognize the strategies, refusing to cooperate with them, and aggressively cutting off the schemes of the devil in Jesus’ name.” Dean Sherman

“those who protest that God cannot exist because there is too much evil evident in life… Evil exists; therefore, the Creator does not. That is categorically stated… If evil exists, one must assume that good exists in order to know the difference. If good exists, one must assume that a moral law exists by which to measure good and evil. But if a moral law exists, must not one posit an ultimate source of moral law, or at least an objective basis for a moral law? By an objective basis, I mean something that is transcendingly true at all times, regardless of whether I believed it or not.” Ravi Zacharias

“But the Devil is no big threat to God’s purposes; he is not even remotely comparable in power. He has been given a limited time before his final judgment to try to prove his case, just as all other moral beings who have chosen to live in rebellion against heaven.” W.A. Pratney

Popular Posts

About Me

My photo
I've served as a life-long missionary in Samoa, the Pacific region, India, and now in Pennsylvania. The Christian faith is reasonable and works in real life. It is true to the facts. Hope you enjoy some of the thoughts. I appreciate feedback.

Follow by Email

If you would like to help fund this ministry, click here. Thank you.