And also much cattle

I don’t know about you, but other than wishing my dog would be in heaven, I always imagined that the animals were pretty unimportant. Yes, you can call me heartless, but I always seemed to think that since the animals didn’t have souls (or so I think) that they were just as unimportant as the rocks or anything else in the landscape.

The Bible teaches us differently. On several occasions, God mentions the idea that He values animals.

One classic example is Matthew 10:29, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.” God speaks of sparrows, an animal that we do not regard worth much at all, and God says that He notices every time one dies. The King of the universe notices when a bird dies. That’s powerful.

Another time, God is speaking to Jonah about Nineveh. He says, “And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?”

God doesn’t want to destroy 120,000 people if He doesn’t want to. And did you catch the last part- almost like it was thrown in at the end? He didn’t want to destroy the cattle. God cared about the herds of cattle as well as the people.

In proverbs 12, we find, “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” I think in this verse we find the summary and the application of this thought. As a god-fearing person, we should treat animals with respect.

Yes, God created them for us to use and enjoy, but we should not use our authority and dominance for cruelty. Christians should be at the forefront of many causes for treating animals with respect. I’m not speaking of refraining from eating meat, which was allowed and commanded in many places(1, 2, 3, 4), but there is a decency with recognizing that animals do have worth. And not just to us, but to God as well.

Animals should be treated with kindness. It’s one way we show our respect for God and His creation.

I challenge you, take a moment to consider if there are ways you can honor God more but treating the lives of His creatures with more kindness or respect.

Job title: National leader ~~~ Job experience: shepherd

There’s something great about someone who does great things. A person who has an important job or completes a crucial task. We sit back and say, “If they never did that, then I don’t know what we’d be doing.” All of us humans are often impressed by what a person does in their life, but it seems that God’s emphasis is often on how a person does in their life.

 When the great prophet Samuel was anointing the next king, he was told not to anoint Jesse’s firstborn. God said, “I have refused him.” The candidate for king was David, a shepherd boy. Taking care of the sheep is, I’m sure, a crucial task, but it’s not very noteworthy. It doesn’t represent greatness.

 Moses, the great leader of Israel, spent decades keeping flocks in the desert. Yeah, wonderful. Do you think he was really racking up the qualifications for a national leader and diplomat? I’m sure the world didn’t think so. But apparently God did, and God used that time of preparation to mold Moses into the man God needed him to be.

 There are countless examples of someone doing something small in a great way.  I’m sure at some point Nehemiah felt that his cupbearing wasn’t doing much good for God, but when God used that position to allow Nehemiah to go rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, it was clear.

I’m sure Joseph felt that his sitting in prison wasn’t doing much good for God, but the Bible tells us that in prison, Joseph had a change of character. You see, God isn’t always focused on our changing the world for Him. Sometimes He wants to change us for Him. Sometimes the “pointlessness” of a task is designed to change us. Once we are changed, then God can use us to change the world.

 So next time you are getting ready to sweep the floor, or do that Algebra you think you will never use, remember, sometimes God will use the menial tasks to change you. But He doesn’t call every faithful person to the stage.  You may sweep the floor faithfully, and do your algebra without fail, but never get recognition. Are you willing to do that which is little, for Him? Will you be one to do the small things in a great way?

 Whatever God’s will is, be open to it. Be faithful and diligent to do what God called you to do.  You’ll be doing God’s will, you may never lead a nation, or who knows? Maybe you will.

 “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” – Colossians 3:23

 “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: ” – Luke 16:10

Urgent or Important?

"There is a difference between the urgent and the important, the important is rarely important, and the important is rarely urgent." This is a paraphrase of a quote I have heard. The idea here is very true. I was contemplating this truth when I tried to think of a Biblical example.

In Mark 5:22-23, we find Jesus being approached by a man whose daughter was sick. The man asked Jesus to come and heal her because she was dying. Jesus immediately started on his way, but he was interrupted. In verses 25-34, we find him interrupted by a woman who had an issue of blood. She reached out to Jesus because she wanted to be healed. Christ stopped and gave her words of comfort. He knew that His time with her, was important. As he was speaking to her though, the man’s daughter had died.

We could read this passage and think that Jesus got distracted from His purpose and His distraction caused Him to fail to heal the man’s daughter. But that is not at all what happened here. In this passage we can see God’s miraculous timing. You see, we may not always see why and how our lives become interrupted, but many times the "interruptions" in life are simply God’s direction in disguise.

When Jesus came to the house, he was able to bring the young girl back to life. God’s power was demonstrated even more because of the supposed detour. If Jesus had stuck to His "schedule" He would have missed out on helping that woman and later, God could not have shown His power in the tremendous way that He did.

So what can we learn from this? We can learn that God’s will does not always mean sticking to a rigid schedule. It doesn’t always mean running after the most urgent thing, but realizing what in life is truly important. Our focus should not be how we have planned everything, but how God will direct us in every situation that comes our way.

I would like to challenge you, relax. Don’t be religious about sticking to a schedule. Allow for the Holy Spirit to direct where and how you minister to others. Sometimes things must be put off because God’s work is more important. When that happens, you will find that God has more than enough power to make sure everything works out right. Remember Lazarus?

"Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died . . . Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again." – John 11:21,23