"But the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb which he had bought and brought up, and it grew up with him and his children. It ate of his own morsel, drank from his own cup, lay in his bosom, and was like a daughter to him."
II Samuel 12: 3
"A Daughter To Him"
"The right kind of heart is a kind heart like God's."
As I read about the way the poor man treated his precious sheep, what qualities are represented by this man?
"The person who sows seeds of kindness enjoys a perpetual harvest."
INSPIRATION "A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles."
There are many reasons I find the Bible to be such a fascinating book. One reason is that it is filled with stories about real people who face real problems - challenges which reflect many of the same problems you and I encounter everyday.
But there's another thing that makes the Bible extremely interesting to me and it is the way comparisons are used to highlight the behavior and characteristics present in differing individuals.
We find this happens in the beginning of the Bible in the story of Cain and Abel - two brothers who were literally opposites in the way they acted.
Further along, in the book of Genesis, we meet Esau and Jacob, also two distinctly different brothers. However, Biblical comparisons aren't limited just to men. There were Hagar and Sarah, along with Leah and Rachel. As we see these different lives in contrast, it helps us focus on the qualities in our own lives which we want to cultivate as well as those we want to shun.
This is why I believe Jesus used comparisons in the parables He told on earth, for it helped His audience better understand the difference between heavenly and earthly living. Many of Jesus' parables focused on the "wise" and the "foolish." But just as we find in II Samuel 12, Jesus also drew contrasting views between the rich and the poor. It may well be the reason we find God instructed Nathan, when he confronted David with his cruel behavior, to use a comparison between a man with plenty and a man with little.
As I read today's text, I was extremely touched, as never before, by the details that are included in the description of the poor man's lamb - a "ewe" - a female sheep. If we think back to the description of the rich man's possessions, they are described as "flocks" and "herds." The rich man had so many sheep and goats, they were lumped into big groups. You get the feeling that if a wild animal came along and snatched away one of his sheep, the rich man had so many, he may never have known if only "one" was missing. In the case of the poor man, the complete opposite is true. Not only could he identify the lamb, he knew it was a female sheep - a ewe. What's more, he had taken his own money to purchase this precious creature. This lamb was a family treasure. The poor man loved this lamb so much, I doubt it was ever meant to be used for meat for his table. This wasn't a sheep for slaughter. It was most likely to be the sheep that would bear other little lambs for the poor man's household.
What we see by the poor man's treatment of this one ewe is an open-hearted spirit of kindness. The poor man's behavior reminds me of a sign in a shop window, "Kindness spoken here." It makes you want to come in, doesn't it? And only a kind person could love and care for a lamb the way Nathan described in this story.
From a heart of kindness the man with one sheep became like "honey that blunted the sting of unkindness in another," according to Walter Landor.
As we think about the poor man's tender kindness toward his one little lamb, let us never forget that the kindness we choose to show each day, can be the first and clearest cord of beautiful music in a cruel and heartless world.
"Every moment is the right one to be kind."
"O Lord, open my eyes
that I may see the need of others,
open my ears that I may hear their cries,
open my heart so that they need not be without succour.
Let me not be afraid to defend the weak
because of the anger of the strong,
nor afraid to defend the poor
because of the anger of the rich.
Show me where love and hope and faith are needed,
and use me to bring them to these places.
Open my eyes and ears that I may, this coming day,
be able to do some work of peace for thee."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.