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.
It was my privilege on Saturday, May 27, to judge the Ile De France sheep at this year’s Ballymena Show. I gave each sheep a thorough inspection from tooth to tail and came to my decision on where each sheep should be placed. There were those who agreed with me - and some who didn’t!
When I used to show sheep there was usually a bit of discussion about who the judge was. When you found out about the judge you could present the most suitable sheep for their favourite characteristics.
Sometimes there was a bit of ‘cat and mouse’ between the exhibitors and the judge as to who could show the best sheep and hide the most flaws! The sheep may not have been perfect, but they were given their rosettes based on what the judge could see or didn’t see. In the Book of Leviticus (19:15) there is a verse of guidance for every livestock judge and it says, “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favouritism to the great, but judge your neighbour fairly.”
To some degree, every farmer is a judge and so often it is easy to see the flaws in someone else’s stock and not their own. Any of us can easily slip into the habit of judging other people and seeing the worst in them while overlooking the wrongs in our own life.
In fact Jesus warned us about judging others because so often we are not able to do it properly. Often as people our judgement can be blinded by our own sin, and we can’t see clearly to be able to judge others fairly. In this life we must be careful about the judgments we make of others.
The Bible tells us that there is a ‘Judgement Day’ when we will all stand before God who is the perfect Judge, who will judge us fairly. It will not be possible for us to pull the wool over His eyes and He will inspect us and see us for who we truly are.
His judgement is perfect. On that day there will be those who are dirty with sin and there will be those who have been washed and made clean by the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. The Apostle Paul tells us, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10.
The decisions and actions in our lives will determine where we spend eternity. The person who is trusting in Jesus knows that according to 2 Timothy 4:8 which says, “in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
Be prepared for ‘Judgement Day’ and ready to receive your prize by saying sorry to Jesus for your sin now and placing your trust in the Son of God - who is the Perfect Judge.
Trevor Boyd is the minister of First Rathfriland Presbyterian Church in the rolling County Down countryside. Married to Barbara the father of three is an ex-sheep breeder and previously sold animal health products across Northern Ireland.
If you would like to talk to someone about any of the issues raised in this article, please email Rev. Kenny Hanna at email@example.com or call him on 028 9753 1234.