This little guy had been an orphan from day one and was pretty healthy. He had no problem with the bottle and even my 2 year old could feed him. The kids were thrilled and I was thankful they were old enough to now handle the job responsibly. (Not the 2 year old!)
A few days later, Grandpa came with another lamb, but Flopsy didn't have quite as good of a start. He didn't like the bottle and wasn't overly cooperative. I shared some concerns with my dad and his words to me were simple, "Remember, you can't save them all."
The mothering instincts in me took over and I found myself in the barn nearly as often as the kids. The little guy needed help standing up and drinking from the bottle, so I either observed the kids or fed him myself. Then one day I found myself getting frustrated...we were investing the time and money, but Flopsy was not improving. I began to wonder if our efforts were even worth it and then I recalled my dad's words, "You can't save them all."
I knew that statement was true...I've spent most of my life on a farm, but yet another thought immediately followed that one as I heard, "but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try." That phrase stuck in my head and came back to my mind each time I helped the struggling little lamb.
One day as I was working with the weak, sick, little fellow God used the situation to illustrate a spiritual concept. First of all, I want to clarify one thing - I know I am not the one who would save this lamb or any person...God is the only one capable of breathing life into a person physically and spiritually, but He can and does use people to point others to Himself, so with that said I'll move on.
Our sick little lamb is a picture of the ones who need to know Christ. It can be easy to minister to and encourage a fellow believer...they are typically willing and able to receive what you offer, just like our healthy little Jip. But working with those who need Jesus can sometimes be like it was when I tried to feed Flopsy...it takes more time, requires more work and can lead to frustration. They may put up a fight, ignore you or avoid you. And the truth is you can't save them all...meaning it may not bring the result you want.
Though that is the reality, the truth is we still need to try. We must be willing and able to share Christ and live our faith will all who cross our paths, not just the ones we choose or those we assume will respond to our efforts.
Luke 5:31 says, "Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick." And the thing is each and every one of us is sick. The human race, including me and you, is sick with sin...we need the only One who can heal us and save us.
I'll close this post by letting you know my dad was right...you can't save them all - our little lamb lost his fight and our efforts were not enough. But I'll add this, we did try, but God is sovereign and friend this is true in our spiritual efforts as well. Everyone will not respond to us the way we'd like, the way we pray, because God is sovereign, but we will experience peace if we know we tried rather than the regret that comes with doing nothing at all.
Friend, if you are a believer in Christ remember you are called to share your faith! May these verses encourage you today -
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
"We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God." 2 Corinthians 5:20
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:37-38