August 23, 2018
Mary Ann was one of the most wonderful beautiful productive Holstein cows on the Schofield dairy farm. At peak lactation, she hit 100 pounds of milk in one day. Not only that, she had the personality of a favorite pet dog. She would steal your gloves out of your back pocket it you bent over to get a tool by her station in the barn. If she was out roaming in the barnyard, she would come up and nudge you and want to be petted. She was a joy to milk, take care of and be around.
But then there was another cow we called # 28. But this particular animal was such a nervous uncooperative fuss bucket, and a “just as soon as kick you as look at you” kind of critter. So, we did not feel much like using her name. To her credit though, I believe she was a valued member of our herd who put out 80 pounds of milk at her peak.
The point in comparing and contrasting these two animals is as farmers we had to take care of both animals to the best of our ability. On a cold winter day, it was very easy to snuggle up beside Mary and put on her milker and enjoy the heat that radiated off her flank. You had to sneak up on Number 28 and put your shoulder into her back leg to get her off balance so she couldn’t kick you. After you attached the milker to her udder, you had to retreat carefully to avoid her kicking you or knocking the milk machine off. What a pain! Nevertheless, she was part of the herd and she was a contributing factor to our overall milk production. Both animals received the best of feed rations, veterinary care, bedding and adequate shelter.
As a pastor (shepherd of God’s sheep) I have to minister to all kinds of people. Some folks are easy, like Mary Ann. They are just fun to be around and are such a blessing. They love God, they love life, they love you and appreciate all you do. Then there are the #28s. These can be people who are hurting, scared, or angry. The circumstances of their life can be a mess and they don’t want you to get too close. They may say or do things which can be hurtful and uncaring. They are so consumed with themselves and their life issues they are insensitive to the needs of others. Nevertheless, they too are created in the image of God and it is a Pastor’s calling to try and do his best to love and care for them even though they may be difficult and hard. Over time, some of these folks respond to the loving nurture of God through a caring minister and there is the miracle of a change of attitude. Even though people and pastors fail, one thing will never fail and that is love, even if it is rejected. Jesus never failed in loving us. Rejection is on us not on Him. The nails, the crown, the blows, the whip, the spear, the jeers and the sneers were all laid on Him because God so loved us. If we want to pick up the above list of terrible actions, attitudes and abuses, it is to our own hurt and foolishness since Christ has already carried the load of our sin.
Now most of you who read this are not professional pastors. But, if you claim to be a Christian, may I suggest you also have an obligation placed upon you to love the unlovable.
Luke 6:27-38 27 “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. 29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. 30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. 31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”
Teach us to Love,
Pastor John Schofield.