Lessons From the Mission Field: Lamb Selection

And Abraham said, ‘God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” Genesis 22:8

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Easter has passed. It has brought several new lessons to the heart of this "city girl".

It’s the time of year for the highest sales of lamb—much enjoyed meat here (also one of JeJe's favorites ). I love lambs too much to really enjoy eating them (although Elli has found a way to make delicious roast lamb).

The flavor of lamb is definitely impacted by how the lamb itself was raised and cared for. It has an effect on whether or not the meat will smell.

If a lamb has been raised in a "clean" environment and fed good food, it is less likely to have a pungent odor.
If it is raised on a "dirty" farm and fed lesser quality food, it is more than likely going to smell.
If the diet has been garbage—as in "pig slop”—it’s definitely going to have a pungent scent. The odor is enough to make one lose their appetite.

The indoor area of our marketplace is where the butchers have their stands. Included in their display of slaughtered and skinned lambs are the cheeses from cows, lambs, and goats so the area is ripe with odor. Since the goal is to buy one without smell, the chosen carcass must be separated and taken outside to test in the fresher air. The odor from one lamb taints the scent of another. It’s difficult for me to see the many lambs on display and I do my best to avoid this area.

Beside knowing about odor, our family has learned it’s important to know the owner who has raised the lamb chosen for purchase. Has he raised it locked up all day in a pen? Or did he allow it to roam free, feeding off good grass? Was he watchful in keeping it safe, or does it have injuries from predators? Was it raised in a clean environment….with a clean place to sleep…and a clean food stall?

The past few years, JeJe has developed a good business relationship with a farmer/shepherd who lives in a village about 20 minutes from us. He delivers lambs "fresh" to a place outside the marketplace—kept separate just for us. His lambs are clean. Their transport is clean. The area they live in is clean. The shepherd himself is clean and well groomed. JeJe continues to purchase the lamb from him because we know the care he has given them. The meat is so good and has no odor. Family members have enjoyed the lamb at gatherings in our home and now they, too, are buying from this man.

I couldn’t help but think of today’s churches and their sheep. Are the shepherds careful with the flock? Do they feed them the truth of God’s Word or are they looking out for themselves? Do they love them enough to tell them—with a heart filled with compassion—when they are in danger? Why are there so many bad sheep? Why are there so many sick and hurting sheep? Why do the sheep stay with someone who really isn't caring for them the way they should?

If the quality of our faith is not producing good fruit—results—for others to see, it’s time to allow God to search our hearts (Psalm 139:23-24) and examine what needs to change. If our faith isn't growing and we are stagnant at best, It’s time to get off the hamster wheel of insanity—expecting new results while doing the same old thing. If we are constantly in a rut that isn't changing, we need to get before God, ask him what needs to change. and then do it—get things cleaned up.

He’s waiting to speak to us directly, if we will just let Him in (Jeremiah 29:13 & Revelation 3:20). We need to keep ourselves well fed on the truth of His Word—personally and in a good Bible teaching church. We need to put ourselves in environments where we’re well cared for so we don't stinketh (my Grandma used to use that word).

Lord, help me be a sweet aroma of Jesus for Your Name’s sake,

"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God."
2 Corinthians 2:14-17

by Coleen Jejeran