Jan and I have settled into our responsibilities at the base in the highlands. A somewhat more rural area surrounded by coffee plantations and wonderful people. Our morning responsibility is to shepherd, care for and milk the goats. After Jan milks the goats I have the task of attaching an 8' rope onto their collar and staking them out in the pasture where the grass is the highest and looks the most tasty.
Contrary to common belief a goat will not eat just anything. They are actually quite picky animals and they expect my undivided attention to their proper placement for a day of pleasant grazing.
I learned an important spiritual lesson today while observing our favorite goat named Mocha. She's our favorite because she likes our attention. She is easy to milk because her utters are just the right size for Jan's hands and she doesn't give us any guff, unlike Vera and Paloma. I noticed that after staking Mocha, as well as all the other goats in knee deep luscious, sweet tasting grass that they were not satisfied. They would look at me and baa-a-a-a-a as if to inform me that they wanted to be moved two feet to the right or the left. Anyplace but where I staked them for the day.
Mocha immediately stretched the rope as far as it would go and then extended her neck a couple of inches further, placing considerable strain on her body, to try to get the best grass just outside her reach. In actuality the grass at her feet was just as good and reachable without the difficulty and pulling on her collared neck. She would even knell down on her front two knees to extend her reach a little further.
I decided to do an experiment today. I found the tallest, juiciest, finest looking grass on the farm and staked Mocha right in the middle of it. Guess what? Yep, she still was discontented and wanted the grass just out of her reach. In amazement I returned to my afternoon job of stripping bark off of wood slats that will be used for building homes for the poor in a local slum.
Later in the day I visited Mocha, scratched her head and patted her body and expressed how concerned I was that we were so similar. I also find it difficult at times to find contentment in life as I search for the greener grass that is just out of my reach rather than settle for grass equally as good at my feet. Mocha and I put such strain on our lives when we desperately try reaching for greener pastures and miss all that God has placed right in front of us needing no effort to obtain.
I want to be like the Apostle Paul when he told the Philippian Christians: "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Observing Mocha has taught me to pray: "Lord, help me to grow up before I grow old, and teach me to find contentment in each and every situation you place before me."
We love you and pray that God's richest blessings follow you all the days of your lives. We will return to California on December 15 and hope to see some of you over the holidays.