March 18, 2014

Thoughts from Mark

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)

Sheep do not inherit kingdoms.  Sons do.

Sheep are used in scripture to represent God’s people.  In almost every mention, the term “sheep” refers to them as lost, weak, scattered or gathered back to their shepherd.  Scripturally, to be a sheep meant that we were in a weakened and endangered state needing rescued.

This animal, sheep, is not an identity, but a picture.  The bible uses pictures as analogies, as representations and symbols.  Their intent is to describe our condition.

Sheep refers to child of God’s lost or initial state as we come to Him.  As we are gathered back to our Great Shepherd, we are healed, restored, fed.  As restoration has sway, our true nature is revealed.

And we realize we’re not really sheep.

We’re sons.

Sons made in the image and likeness of our Father.  Sons restored to the image of THE Son.  Sons laced with the DNA of their Daddy.

Sheep are raised for two main purposes: for shearing and for slaughter.  If a person is merely a “sheep”, then church is about what leaders can get from them.  The shearing represents taking from the sheep what they can offer.  Then, we put them back in the sheepfold until they can give something, until they can again be useful to us.  In the meantime, just feed them and keep them alive.

After a while, all sheep’s wool looks the same.  Any one’s particular value is no longer unique since we can get the same from any one of them.  The only thing left to offer is the meat on its bones.  Because of its innocence, a sheep is easily led to slaughter not realizing this final shearing will cut much deeper.

But the church is not a sheepfold.  It’s the Father’s house.  And fathers raise sons.  Each as uniquely powerful as the One who fathered them.  While “sheep” is used biblically as symbolic language, father and son is literal.  This house is a home where every one has access to Papa’s lap, Papa’s heart.  In this place our original DNA shakes to life at the love vibration of His heartbeat.

Jesus came to bring these lost “sheep” into their sonship.  This restoration process transforms us from ignorant and lost to empowered and engaged. Father’s business becomes ours as we lay aside our scattered “sheepness” in intentional pursuit of His kingdom.

Sons lay hold of what the father does.  His heart becomes theirs.  Sheep have no idea what the father is doing.  In fact, they don’t have the capacity to know.  A sheep’s only thoughts are its next meal and its safety.  A son owns what his father owns, cares about what His father cares about, loves AS the father loves.

This is why sons inherit kingdoms and sheep are what’s for dinner.  In the Father’s house, fathers live on behalf of sons.  A father’s burning passion is the maturity, release and authority of the son.  In a sheepfold, sheep are sacrificed on the altar of the shepherd’s need.

A sheep’s greatest value is what it provides.  A son’s greatest value is in who he becomes.

Don’t be dinner or a sweater.  Be a son who inherits the kingdom.

In love,

Mark