Monday, April 26, 2010

the fence

While on a drive yesterday, I was noticing the clouds. I took many pictures because they just so intrigued me. The sky was all fluffy and each little (or big) ball of fluff was unique, and layered over the next. Here and there was a beautiful patch of blue, just enough to remind me that there was something beyond the clouds. Just enough to remind me that even though the clouds appeared to be dominant, they were really just a small part of this beautiful, beautiful sky that is our surrounding.
The next thing that caught my eye was a field. There wasn't really anything extraordinary about it. It was a typical field, but what I noticed were the shades of green, brown and even yellow that were all so beautifully woven together.
As I focused on this patchwork of God's art, a small farmhouse caught my attention. It was just a small house in the middle of a great field. It had next to it a barn. Just on the other side was a field of cows. It dawned on me that I couldn't see any fencing. It wasn't until we were almost directly in front of the house that I could see the wood posts and barbed wire that surrounded the pasture. I said to my husband, "You know I have never really thought of this before, but just one of those cows could simply step on that wire and out it could come. But they just stay inside. It is like they just know they shouldn't go beyond that point instinctively." Now, I realize that the wire hurts if rubbed upon. But truly, a cow's skin is so thick it really wouldn't feel that unless it got caught up in it.
This big creature is held in with a small fence. Wow! The security of the enclosure and the ample food keeps it right where the farmer wants it.
Then my mind came to myself. Am I like that cow? Am I content to just stay within the boundaries set before me? For much of my life, the answer to that question would be no. I truly didn't see boundaries as a good thing. For most of my life, I pressed every boundary there was just to see what would happen, just to see if I passed that spot what would happen next. Then I became a Christian. Do you know that God has changed my view on my boundaries! The boundaries my Father has set for me are to keep me safe, to keep me righteous, to keep me in His closeness, to help bring others to Him. I find I don't want to test these limits like I tested those of old. I, like that cow, feel quite secure within the area my Father has placed me. Like that cow, as long as I stay within the area cordoned off for me, I am safe.
I guess I should tell you what my boundary, what my fencing, looks like. It is love. Yes, it is just that If I operate within the boundaries of love, I am in my pasture (the field my Father has placed me in for now). If something harmful tries to come in, the Father will protect me. If I press too hard on the restraint of the wire, I too will be able to wander off, but when I do that, my Dad is waiting to bring me back into grazing while He patches the hole in that fence of love to secure me once again. Do you get that? Our Father, our Shepherd, will keep us secure when we operate in love and when we obey.
So, I guess I am seeing the pasture as the field that God has laid before me to farm, so to speak. My job in the field is to plant and water, to tend to the seedlings, to nurture this place and these people that God has entrusted to me.
Acts 20:28 "So guard yourselves and God's people. Feed and shepherd God's flock--his church, purchased with his own blood--over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders."