Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wild ox

Never thought I would be close to identifying with an ox. I was sitting peacefully in our living room and suddenly heard "Aaahh"...the sound of the herdsman who grazes the cows near our house (now that we are out in a cow pasture, literally).

Without any other warning, I watched as an enormous bull, Big Ben, charged through our compound, past our tire swing and put on the breaks near our banana trees-young banana trees, not old enough to hurt a bull banana trees. Suddenly, with the grace of a ballerina, he spun on one leg and, with horns the size of a stadium goalpost, he began to thrash our banana tree. He didn't give it a little punishment, he gave it a licking. I was tasting the sweet small bananas that would never be born.

Before the tree was completely destroyed, Ben did his pirouette and pranced off like he had just enjoyed a pleasant conversation.

When I read Psalm 92:10 and had to laugh.
"You have exalted my horn like that of a wild of ox..."

I don't understand the strength God says He gives. Does it mean stamina or physical strength or something more?

Working with Investment Year students is a joy. This is the year after they finish the equivalent of American 10th grade or so. Here at New Hope they will take a year out and explore their faith in classes and with mentors, they will start a small business (making and selling burgers here on site, etc.), they will interview and hold three different consecutive jobs beginning here at New Hope then moving offsite to other selected jobs that fit with their skills and gifting. They have to go through interviews etc. These teenagers are challenging and bright, deep but also lighthearted. Do I need the strength of a wild ox to work with them? If strength can be measured in wisdom, definitely.

I also led the staff, last evening, in a time of listening-listening to each other and learning to listen well. It served a number of purposes. They shared their stories, very briefly, asked questions and hopefully got to know the other staff in the process. Meanwhile they were practicing listening to the children we are caring for. I loved watching them care for each other and actively listen to each other. I think, hopefully, some will find it easier to share their hearts. Do I need the strength of a wild ox to work with the staff? If strength can be measured in wisdom, definitely.

I know I have nothing and it feels far-fetched to think that I could ever have the strength of a wild ox in any form. Maybe I should settle with the strength of a domesticated ox who is good to use for plowing. Actually, that is exactly what Big Ben is when he has a yoke on. Wow that reminds me of Matthew 11:29-30! Maybe I won't ruin a banana tree that way.
Only by God's grace, Tim

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