The sheep are turning out to be quite an adventure.  Already, there has been a mix-up in gender, more wool than anyone knows what to do with, and the addition of a 6th, who turned out to be a little rebel.  I’ll back up a little, and you can read my previous posts  to get more caught up….

 The 5 sheep quickly settled into their new home.  I finally got a professional shearer lined up, but apparently he threw his back out and wound up unable to do it.  So the poor sheep are still looking like dirty, exploded cotton balls.  Then, one day, S’s mom and brother were sitting out watching the sheep graze and noticed that the lamb had something “hanging” under her belly.  Mind you, I haven’t seen the sheep, and no one had gotten close enough to really examine them.  While the older ones will eat of your hand, the lamb is still very nervous around people.  So anyway, short story, shorter, it turns out the ewe lamb is a wether (castrated male). 

 Then they get a call from the original owner of the sheep.  She had another wether lamb, slightly older than our lamb, which had been abandoned by its mother.  She raised him on a bottle, and he turned into a little rebel that continually escaped and refused to stay with the flock.  After seeing our sturdier fence, she thought he would be safer on our farm, so she offered him up.  S’s mom accepted the freebie.  Within 24 hours, he had escaped from our pasture and S’s brother spent the day tracking him through the woods.  He finally found him and managed to catch him and get him back into the pasture.  The next morning, they found him grazing in the alfalfa field, having escaped once again.  This time, S’s mom got smart and tried to coax him back into the pasture with a bottle, hoping to figure out how he was escaping.  The little rebel ran up and down the outside of the fence, bleating, frantically wanting that bottle, and acting like he had no clue how to get back in.  Eventually, they let him back in the gate. 


 It is so interesting to compare scriptural references to sheep and shepherding to what we are now experiencing.  It is opening our eyes to what the Bible really means in these passages.  Isaiah 53:6 states, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way…”  My former understanding of sheep is that they flock together for safety.  I never fully understood passages like this and why a sheep would go astray.  Now they make sense.  If this young little lamb stayed out for any length of time on his own, he would succumb to a coyote or neighborhood dog.  Another passage that never fully made sense was Matthew 18:12-14. “…If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?  And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.  In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.”  It never made sense, from my secular understanding, that a good shepherd would leave the “good” sheep behind and at risk without a shepherd to go search one single rogue lamb.  Now I understand!  You see, when the sheep flock together, they are like one unit.  The largest protect the smallest, they move together, and a predator has trouble defining one single sheep from the closely-gathered group.  A single, lost sheep, on the other hand, is at great risk.  He has no way to defend himself, and is at the mercy of nature.  So, just like S’s brother and mom were elated to find that little lost stray, Christ is elated when a lost person is found in the blood of Christ.

 I am truly looking forward to learning all the God wants to teach me through this new sheep experience.  I figure my eyes will be opened even more when we actually care for them ourselves. 

 Just for the record, the little rebel lamb has not escaped again.  The only thing we can figure is that maybe he got a pretty good zap from the electric fence and respects it now, but only time will tell.  In the mean time, they say he is a friendly little guy.  Since he was bottle-raised by people, he doesn’t fear them as much as the other sheep, so he is always quick to greet anyone who comes near.  He has not yet been fully accepted by the rest of the flock, but hopefully that will happen with time.