Every fortnight people from a farming background, or who have a heart for the countryside, offer a personal reflection on faith and rural life. They hope that you will be encouraged by it.
Clip. Snip. Shampoo. Blow-dry. If you listen carefully, these are the sounds you will hear on livestock farms, across the Province, over the next number of days.
Are mobile hairdressers doing a booming trade, in local farmhouses? Perhaps; but the sounds and smells of the beauty salon can be found wafting through farm sheds, where it is sheep, cattle, pigs and horses that are receiving the beauty treatments – and the reason for all the fuss? Balmoral Show is drawing close. These are days of ‘Getting Ready’.
I only showed stock at Balmoral once. I was a boy of 18 and full of nervous excitement. The ewes were clipped, dipped and fed for condition. For weeks, we had been ‘Getting Ready’.
Then the moment of truth arrived. Because dad and I were exhibiting novices, would we show ourselves up? We wrestled our ewes out into the show ring. I took the best one!
Would all the hours of getting ready pay off? They did: We got Highly Commended for one. It was 7th in a strong class of over 30, but for a novice like me I felt like we’d won Supreme Champion! All the hours of getting ready were most definitely worth it.
For farmers interested in showing, getting ready for Balmoral is a big thing. But God’s Word, the Bible, explains that there is a far bigger and more important event that we all need to prepare for: The return of God’s Son Jesus as Judge of all.
This event will definitely happen. As the apostle Paul explains in Acts 17:31 that, “He [God] has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.” If it is so definite that Jesus will return as Judge of all, how can we, with all our faults and failings, possibly be ready to meet Him?
Before we went to Balmoral, we had some help from our friends. They got us ready (white show coats) and they helped get our sheep ready too. Without our friends, we just wouldn’t have been prepared. In a similar way, we can’t prepare ourselves to meet Judge Jesus. We also need outside help.
The amazing news is that God has sent His Son Jesus into the world, long before the judgement, to prepare us for it. When we turn from trusting in ourselves (the Bible calls this “sin”) and trust in Jesus, we are forgiven and it is as if our sin is now hidden by the perfect righteousness of Jesus. So that, when God looks at us, He no longer sees us, with all our faults and failings, but He sees Jesus, in all His purity and perfection. What this means is that God now declares us “Not Guilty” and we are ready to meet Him on the great Day of Judgement.
Without the help of our friends, we would have been badly found out at Balmoral Show. Their help was priceless. Even more crucially, without God’s pardon through Jesus, we will be badly found out when Jesus returns. Without Jesus, we will meet God, totally unprepared, with no hope of heaven, but facing the certainty of a lost eternity.
I would encourage you, in fact, urge you, to please trust in Jesus. For only Jesus can get us ready.
If you are at Balmoral Show, you are very welcome to visit the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s stand, EK 27 in the Eikon Exhibition Centre. Light refreshments, a seat to rest weary legs, as well as face painting for children, awaits you.
Rev. Kenny Hanna is minister of Second Dromara Presbyterian Church and grew up on his family’s farm in the foothills of the Mountains of Mourne.
If you would like to talk to Rev. Hanna about his article and any of the issues raised, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 028 9753 1234.