“Esau said, "Let's get ready and leave. I will go ahead of you."  (13)  Jacob answered, "You know that the children are weak, and I must think of the sheep and livestock with their young. If they are driven hard for even one day, the whole herd will die”, Gen 33:12-13

Any herd has got fully grown up Sheep as well as little ones. I want to use these words Jacob used in order to be able to illustrate a few things which have been assaulting my heart in the last few years. Jesus said to Peter once, “If you love Me, Take care of my sheep”.

Once people get converted, they believe nothing else, they think about nothing else but whatever goes in their heart in a real fashion. Yet, within the sheepfold, there are those who give birth and are in pain, such as have been born and jump up and down little knowing why, such as are fully grown, along with many in all different stages of the Christian life. If a herd is healthy and prosperous, this is something none will get away from, for it has got to be so. And because none can or will avoid it – for it is God’s will – one should rather take care how to do all things to keep it prospering in all peace and only pray that God’s will should be done just as it would in heaven, after the same fashion.

There are little sheep which hardly walk: the rest of the herd has got to stop for them, for to be still might be going to fast for them already. There are such who may run as fast as they can, and yet be slower than most. One should have in mind that, a slow one will not go faster, but a grown-up will be fully able to slow down. Someone who walks slower knows not how to run fast – a fast runner knows how to walk.

Our work within the sheepfold is to set an example once these little ones are able to observe whatever we do. Little ones eagerly and almost unconsciously learn up the ways they have been dealt with - not only what they may have been told. They feel they are cared for, for these take notice grown-ups may walk faster if they want to do so when they don't. They marvel and learn thankfulness because they believe love is great and abundant towards them. When they are grown-ups themselves, they know how to do the same. They are ready to walk as fast as they can, for they see people are walking for them, not wanting to delay any whatsoever. Going faster will delay the journey and never hasten it. Besides the herd will be rooted out if small ones die away because of careless journeying. Then, doing thing the right way, little ones will instantly feel encouraged not to let down on the slowing effort grow-ups are trying for, and these will become followers of the speed they are given to follow and maintain fully, for they perceive love more than tiredness. There is a great deal of comforting ideas one may get from a healthy herd of God. All of these little ones will soon be grown-ups who will be fully capacitated to carry out a certain work that has been done with, upon and for them. They saw it happen, they learned from it and they will such-like dores once fully grown. The herd will not run down, it will not be extinguished.

The main thing is to keep sickness in the form of sin away from all, for it spreads within everybody rather quickly. Slow going is not sickness bearing at all. It is rather walking according to whatever one may in a healthy state. It is obvious that if sickness, virus, new births, growth and many other things affect but one, it will have an effect upon all the components of any herd whatsoever.

Little ones are always fully exercised because they do their uttermost if the herd is healthy and going in a God given stepping space and speed. But, among the grown-ups there will be a slowing down which is good for little ones and recommendable even, yet it should be known that it may affect the knowledge and the physical state of all who do not exercise themselves to their uttermost – the grown-ups. Grown-ups should have a private exercise if they want to stay healthy and fit themselves and they must not do it at the cost of the herd.

Little ones are the future of any herd: “If they are driven hard for even one day, the whole herd will die”. The whole of patience should be available for all, for Jesus cares for them all. Jesus has all following Him, by having grown-ups listening and obeying as little ones should. This is passed on as an inheritance, for God said about Abraham: “And Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the persons of the earth shall be blessed in him.  (19)  For I know him, that he will command his sons and his house after him, and they shall keep the way of Jehovah, to do justice and judgment, that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which He has spoken of him”, Gen 18:18-19.

It is written that “He will take care of his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs together and carry them in his arms; he will gently lead their mothers”, Is.40:11. A little one may not pray as he should, yet it may get answers. Grown-ups should be like them and get answers as well by praying as they should and would, and as they know as well.

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José Mateus