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Are you resourceful?

There are moments as I am reading through scripture when I have to ask, "What were they thinking?" It is though the actions someone took were clearly not right, but they chose them anyway. Sound familiar to anyone else besides me? Do you ever think God is maybe just a little comical in what he records in scripture? Sometimes you come across something you know is really not "comical", but when you see it, you cannot help yourself - you laugh! When I came across the portion of scripture which described a billy goat as a "solemn dignitary", I had to ask if God was actually being just a little sarcastic in that description! God nails it, though, because there are times when we put 'goats' in positions of power and forget who really 'owns' the barnyard! We get so focused on the one thing in our path that makes the most noise, or just simply elevates itself to some position 'over us' that we cannot see God is really still the one who controls ALL the animals!

There are three solemn dignitaries, four that are impressive in their bearing—a lion, king of the beasts, deferring to none; a rooster, proud and strutting; a billy goat; a head of state in stately procession. (Proverbs 30:29-31)

Okay...now come on...did you ever consider a billy goat as a "solemn dignitary" of the barnyard? I got the whole king of beasts lion thing and even the rooster strutting his stuff - but the billy goat as a majestic or royal critter of the barnyard? Not exactly my impression of goats. As is often the case, I laugh first, then consider what I laughed at in the first place - because I think perhaps God is talking just a little bit to me in this passage! Think about the goat. First, he is pretty sure on his feet. I have tried to move one or two goats out of my path on occasion and discovered quite quickly that if they don't wanna move, there is a whole lot effort that has to go into moving them! What God may have been trying to show me in this passage is to be "solid" in my footing - grounded well - but not stubborn and firmly planted in places where I don't belong. There are 'barnyards' we should avoid and there are times when we plant our feet so firmly where we don't belong, finding we are constantly trying to be 'moved along', but we still stubbornly take our stand right there, aren't there?

Second, the billy goat is pretty "unaffected" by the goings on around them - even when there are geese fighting in one corner, cows bellowing in another, and chickens pecking at each other across the way. Barnyards can be kind of 'messy' spots - filled with all kinds of ruckus-type behavior. Whenever I observe the animals at my nieces house, I see lots of activity, but the goats can almost stand there seemingly unaffected by the noise, the hub-bub of the moment around them, just caught up in their own little world. Maybe this is what God intended when he presents the billy goat as an impressive creature - the ability to not be swayed by the chaos. I think God may be talking to all of us here! There is something good in shutting out some things, but don't forget...shutting out everything may not be what God intends. The 'messy' spots in the barnyard may not be our 'doing', but we could be focused so much on our own needs that we don't see the others right around us who might just need someone to help them out of their muddle.

The goat is pretty resourceful in its finding of food! I have observed the goats going quickly to the feeding spot, or to the outstretched hand willing to share some tasty treat offered to them. They seem to make a beeline to it without ever being called - it is like they don't even have to look - they just expect to be fed. They know where to look! My hands are almost always empty when I go out to my niece's paddock - I just want to pet them. When they are hungry - they want more than a pat on the back or scratch behind the ear! They have a way of tapping the resources available to them - so they make a beeline to the one they know will feed them! Perhaps this is what God had in mind when he called the billy goat a dignitary of sorts - they know exactly where to look for what it is they desire! The goat isn't going to stick around empty feed bins for long - they are willing to seek out their food and will make their hunger well-known. Ever heard them fully escalated in excitement to be fed? It is quite a racket they make - asking to be noticed - to be fed. They aren't content to just wait around - the seek their feed. Maybe God is telling us to seek a little harder than we have been - not being content to just wait around for the occasional hand-out.

The next time we want to laugh at something God "labels" as worthy of the status of "dignitary", perhaps we'd do well to consider what God might have to show us when we take time to really observe the ones he "labels" a certain way in scripture - it could just give us insight into some things we may have missed in ourselves on occasion! I bear many labels - "mom", "daughter", "employee", "friend". The most important label I hope to wear is "faithful one". Solid in my footing, unaffected by the hub-bub of the hour, and resourceful in finding my sustenance! How about you? Just askin!

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