This week we had the wild and woolly experience of seeing our cute, fluffy little ewe lambs sheared for the first time. Our shearer traveled all the way from northern Michigan on a route that traversed as far south as Alabama. With many miles yet to go, he got the job done with lightening speed and efficiency, tipping the lambs on their rumps to immobilize them and running the clippers through their fleece until they looked like naked jaybirds, robbed of all their beautiful plumage and rather homely at that.
I’m not gonna lie. My first thought was…ewww. Between the uneven scruff, roughshod razor lines, and shorn faces that revealed uneven black rings around their eyes, it was a toss-up as to which lamb looked more like Rocky after fifteen rounds with Apollo Creed. My second thought was: awww…they’re the same sweet babies at heart—and they truly are. In fact, I envy how blissfully ignorant they are of their homely appearance. Once sheared and having cast off about seven pounds of wool apiece, the four of them got back to the business of frolicking in the pasture and happily scarfing down alfalfa, lighter and freer without the all the fluff.
I don't know about you, but the last time I got a bad haircut I cried for days, ate three quarts of ice cream, and avoided a hair salon for the next four years. Just goes to show how vain I can actually be. Scripture repeatedly warns us against that kind of excessive pride:
“Vanity of vanities…all things are vanity!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). This Hebrew superlative is said to express the utter futility and emptiness to be found in a preoccupation with one’s appearance, status, or possessions. The writer of Ecclesiastes, thought to be King Solomon himself, seemed to know a little something about having (and losing) it all: regal good looks, power, fame, wealth, women, and song…and yet he died a broken man, steeped in sin and separated from God. Why? Because Scripture tells us, plainly and simply: “God does not see as a mortal, who sees the appearance. The LORD looks into the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
It’s for this very reason that a lowly shepherd named David was summoned from the fields by the prophet Samuel and at the Lord’s command, anointed King. (1 Samuel 16:12-13). A thousand years later, the book of Acts reminds us that after removing King Saul, God “raised up David as their king; of him he testified, ‘I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will carry out my every wish.’ From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise, has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.” (Acts 13:22)
I understand this verse to mean that God wants my heart to harmonize with His. To love as He loves. To see as He sees. To carry out His every wish. If I’m going to carry out His will, I’ll need to cast off mine.
As it turns out, it’s shearing season in more ways than one. Now that the lambs are shorn, I can’t help but ask myself: what fluff and stuff do I need to lose so that I can be lighter and freer to love God?
How about you?