Peace on the Mountaintop – Guest Post
Women tend to their sheep in Kenya. A SIA grant helped them start their business.
Today’s guest post is adapted from Becky Sutherland’s report for the Camps Farthest Out International (CFOI) Board of Directors. The CFOI movement, made up of over 125 Christian camps and retreats around the world, recognizes the power of individual and group prayer to bring peace to the world. Becky starts her report with a beautiful parable that encourages me to push beyond my comfort zone to find God and to listen in the silent moments to find peace.
Once upon a time there was a shepherd who envied a great seer who went up in the mountain to pray while he, busy with his sheep, had to stay in the valley below.
One day the seer met him and asked, “Why is your face so full of gloom when all the world is full of light?”
“Because, alas, I must stay in the valley with my sheep while you climb to the mountain top and talk with God.”
“Why do you not also climb to the mountaintop?”
“Because I must keep my sheep here where the grass is long and the water in the pool is abundant.”
“But the grass up there is also long and the water is much clearer for the sheep than here.”
So the shepherd gathered his flock together and led them up the mountain. When he reached the top, there on the tableland, stretched out about him, was truly the finest grass he had ever seen.
“Now at last I can talk to God,” he said. But because he did not know the learned words of the seer he could not talk with God. But when his flock was filled and lay down to rest, a great peace came upon him; joy filled his heart, and in this peace and joy all his troubles came to an end.
As he was leading his sheep down the mountain that night the seer overtook him and asked, “Are you not glad that you took my advice and talked with God on the mountain?”
“Alas,” said the shepherd, “after I climbed the mountain, because I am not a learned man, I did not know how to talk with God.”
“My friend,” said the seer, “do you not know that the sheep you drove up the mountain were your thoughts? And the mountain was prayer. And when your sheep, after their upward climb, rested and became still, then it was that God came to you and talked with you?”
This parable, from Glenn Clark in How to Find Health Through Prayer, sounds like my story in working with CFOI so far. I made room in a busy, full life to do this job because I want to spend my time on worthwhile things. I want to live more in God’s Kingdom than ever before. I knew that it would be easier to remember that if I was working with CFOI on a daily basis.
My job is Coordinator. It’s a perfect title. I am not directing anything, but taking information and communication and ideas from all over and coordinating things. Herding sheep, if you will. I assemble and edit and make things presentable, but the Board is responsible for its decisions and actions. I love my role. Still, it is easy to get caught up in all the details and tasks, thinking these are my sheep that I must feed in the valley. Jesus, of course, has a higher way. He is teaching me about bringing my sheep up the mountain to eat the better grass and to let God handle the sheep and give me peace and joy.
May God increase my ability to go to the high places, bringing with me all of my concerns and responsibilities, and feed the sheep on the very best grass and drink from the clearest water.
–Becky Sutherland, CFOI Coordinator