Farm life, even life on a small farm inhabited with more chickens then any other livestock, cause a man to ponder things from strange or uncommon points of view sometimes. For some reason last evening, just tucked in beside my awesome wife, this thought cam to me. My life is like a mucked out stall.
Raising goats, cows, horses, nearly any farm animal, is going to require sheltering the animals from the weather. For this reason we build barns. Because not all animals are alike, and even those that are do not always get along (something like people), we make stalls. Standing in stalls, a part of life for a farm animal, means that the stalls get dirty. Yes, the animals go to the bathroom in the stalls. The stalls get dirty, and if the animals are to have a healthy life, these stalls need to be cleaned. In farm terms, cleaning out these areas is called, “mucking the stalls”. In this, believe it or not, I found a parallel for the life of a Christian.
When we are born into this world, we are dirty, we are sinners. Sin is born into us as we inherit it as if it were “DNA” from out forefathers, passed on in perpetuity from Adam to us (Romans 5:12, I Corinthians 15, I Timothy 2). Because of that, it is appointed that each man must die, so that the sin that is in us (our ‘sin nature’, or our ‘flesh’), and our spirit, free from sin, may be made right with God. Then, like the cow in the stable who realizes he’s standing in his own filth going nowhere, we realize that we cannot live healthy life with any hope for the future if we continue life at the status quo. We need a cleaning.
God is often referred to as a farmer; vinedresser, a pruner, He harvests, plants seeds, waters – all references to farming, and honorable profession if there ever was one. But for the farmer to be successful, he has to do more then just throw seeds onto barren ground, and then come back a few months later for the harvest. Vinedressing and pruning is hard work, typically in the hot sun, requiring lots of manual labor all done closely and by hand. It requires a knowledge that would be particular to the farmer, and an understanding of the future. Perhaps most of all, the farmer understands that some things must be cut off and thrown away, burned even, and that because for this, the harvest will be greater.
The farmer also knows that animals left to stand in their own filth will not grow. They will stifle, become despondent, even angry. The farmer knows that if that animal is going to flourish towards the purpose for which it is born, it must be clean.
Jesus is the mucker of our souls. He’s the one that has to do the dirty work. He’s the one that cleans the stalls of our lives so that we can flourish towards our created and intended purpose – to be reunited in spirit with God the Father, cleansed of our sin, not found standing in our own filth.
I’m so glad that Jesus has ‘mucked out’ the stall the stall of my heart. I’m glad I do not have to ever worry about standing in the filth of my own sin. I’m glad that my past, that past that stinks and all the sin within it, is gone, forgiven cleansed – never again to rear its ugly head. Few things are more beautiful to a farmer then a barn, all the stalls spotless. Jesus has done the workd, now we must be diligent in the upkeep of our stalls/tents while we remain here.
Wierd, yeah. But hey, if that’s what the Lord puts on your heart, you go with it!