By S. Leonard Tyler
This is an imaginative story but thought provoking. It was told by C.E. Henry in The Voice of Evangelism (July 23, 1960). So much truth is expressed in such a unique manner, I thought it worth passing on to you.
The story follows:
One day a little white lamb was taking a walk with his mother, and as they walked, they went by a pig pen. A pig was stretched out, grunting contentedly as he wallowed in the mud and muck of the pen. He looked so perfectly contented and comfortable that the little lamb was greatly impressed. Indeed, the lamb was led to believe that he had been missing something. He turned to his mother a little breathlessly because of the wonderful idea that had just come to him.
“Mother,” he said, “may I wallow?”
The question rocked Mother Sheep back on her heels. She was both shocked and surprised to think that a son of hers would ask such a question. When she had regained her composure, she answered quite firmly, “Of course not! Sheep don’t wallow.”
But, Little Lamb was not convinced, and the minute his mother’s back was turned, he darted over to the pig pen, slipped between the bars, and felt his fed sink into the cool mud. It was deeper than he had thought, and it smelled terrible. He tried to back out, but found the mud clinging to his feet. He began to be frightened, and he jerked frantically, but only got deeper. By now he was terrified. He wished fervently that he hadn’t come, that he had obeyed his mother. He threshed about in desperation, lost his balance, and sprawled on his side in the evil smelling muck.
The pig looked over his way and grunted companionably, but Little Lamb was frantic. He could not move. He could only roll his eyes, and he thought every breath would be his last. Finally, just as he had bleated weakly for the last time and had given up, the farmer came along and tenderly lifted the little lamb from his death trap, thoroughly cleaned him, and restored him to his mother.
His mother was terribly hurt because he had disobeyed her, yet even more concerned because her own son, a tiny white sheep, had tried to wallow.
“I feel that you have learned your lesson,” she said. “Only pigs wallow. As a sheep, you are the one animal that sets the pattern of behavior above all other animals. Hogs are born to wallow, but sheep are different creatures from hogs, and sheep don’t wallow.”
The moral of this story is obvious. The Christian is a “new creature.” He is God’s sheep. And when, beyond a shadow of a doubt, he is a new creature, he should know that he is not to “wallow.”
The above story is imaginative, for no sheep ever, ever asks if he can wallow. Just so, the Christian will be apart from the world. The things of the world will hold no more appeal to him than a hog wallow would for a sheep. They will be repulsive to him.
Some Thoughts Worthy Of Consideration
(1) The pig was contented. The contentment attracted attention. The sheep wanted contentment. If we could find contentment in being Christians, we could build in others a desire to be a Christian. However, if we go around complaining, criticizing, and fault finding, we need not expect to win others to Christ. And besides that “godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment” (1 Tim. 6:6, NASB). The child of God who can find happiness in serving the Lord will find contentment. If you are not happy and content in Christ, seek knowledge and understanding.
(2) The mother thought that her pronouncement, “Of course not! Sheep don’t wallow,” was sufficient. The little lamb was not much impressed and when the mother’s back was turned, he crawled under the fence and into the mud.
Mothers and fathers need to learn that telling our boys and girls, “No that is not right. Good boys and girls don’t wallow, ” is not convincing enough. We must give more time, spend more effort and explain the dangers of playing with wrong.
How often we are confronted with, “Why can’t we attend the X-rated movies or dance? We are old enough, mature enough to drink a little at parties, others are doing it and they are respectable.” You may say, and I think it is true, “Sheep don’t wallow” like the story said, but that will not work, if the parents wallow. Because a good mother and father sheep “don’t wallow either.” Be an example!
“Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold they are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). New creatures in Christ will have the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5), and think as Christ. He will also live as a new creature seeking those things which are above where Christ is (Col. 3:1-2). His mind will be set on things above – not on things of the world. He won’t wallow.
Paul wrote, “Knowing this that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away, that so we. should no longer be in bondage to sin. . . . Put to death therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience. . .” (Rom. 6:6; Col. 3:5-6).
You may feel that one should never make so-much-a-do about a little old imaginative sheep story. But, if one will ponder the thoughts just a little, it may not be so foreign from the truth as one might imagine. Jesus used it in a metaphor in John 10 to impress His disciples with some fundamental truth. He compares Himself with the good shepherd that will give His life or His sheep in contrast to the hireling. He knows His sheep and His sheep know him. They hear His voice and follow Him. They don’t wallow.
He also uses another sheep illustration in a parable in Luke 15:3-7, “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?” When he hath found the sheep, he shoulders it and saves it and invites his friends and neighbors to rejoice with him “for I have found my sheep which was lost.” He closes with “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” Jesus classified the wandering people, scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. “Then saith He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few” (Matt. 9:36,37). Again, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16).
In the final and great day of judgment when all nations shall be gathered before him, “and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats; And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.” To those on the right, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” But to those on the left hand, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:32-34, 41).
Who is guilty of wallowing? He who plays with temptation until lust conceives and brings forth sin. Sin full grown brings death. “Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.” Remember, “Sheep don’t wallow!”
Guardian of Truth XXX: 3, pp. 78-79
February 6, 1986