One of my favorite outings, and the swan song of summer, is the Oregon State Fair. Held the last two weeks of August, the Oregon State Fair offers interacting with a variety of farm animals, gawking at farm produce, admiring or wondering over arts and crafts displays, getting taken at the carnival games, and spending money at vendors selling everything from Sham-Wow cloths to alligator jerky. It’s more all-day fun than you can poke a stick at!
My favorite area is the farm animals! I’ve never met a cow I didn’t love or which didn’t love me. This year a small donkey took a liking to me and when I tried to leave it stomped in anger until I returned!
One thing I’ve noticed, and you probably already know, is that animals don’t change their kind. The young Future Farmers of America girl who offered to sell us one of her goats wasn’t concerned that she’d return the following day and find they’d each turned into parrots. The 4-H boy who entered his rabbit into competition didn’t worry about it becoming an elephant overnight and squishing its cage.
A sheep is always a sheep, a goat is always a goat, a pig is always a pig, and that spider crawling up your leg is always a spider (sorry, but I had to do that!).
It seems so obvious, yet we still fail to understand the similarity in God’s design physically and spiritually concerning “animals.” We think that in salvation God changes man’s spiritual species from “goat” to “sheep.” The fact is – according to Jesus – not that goats become sheep in the new birth, but that the new birth happens because one is a sheep.
In John 10, Jesus spoke about His spiritual sheep. The Jewish religious leaders were furious with the Master’s constant farm talk and demanded a plain answer from Him: “Are You the Messiah?” (v 24). Jesus replied that He’d already told them, but they could not believe in Him. Why not? You do not believe, because you are not of My sheep (v 26). Being a sheep comes before belief in Christ Jesus as Saviour! Sheep believe because they are sheep. What is needed isn’t the evolution of goat to sheep, but a re-birth from dead sheep to living sheep (Ephesians 2:1).