Ain’t They

To the best of my remembrance, he was a merchant marine sailor, getting older, who was on shore leave and staying with his niece and her family. His niece and her husband held a bible study at their home once a week, and he was there. During most of the study he had been very quiet. In fact, it was only at the end when he had listened to us complaining about the current famine (in Biafra, I think) and the cost it had on children that he blurted out quite loudly, “Ain’t they God’s little lambs, too?” With that one phrase he encapsulated my thoughts.

I was thinking about how a good and all powerful God could allow evil and about how we could make a difference. None of us had any money to speak of, and we weren’t going to go to Biafra to try to help. After all, what could we do? We were all caught in this terrible dilemma where some could eat and be comfortable and others seemed imprisoned in want and early death. His outburst brought this all to a point for me. ‘Well, ain’t they,’ I thought.

From that day until now (some 50 years) I have lived with a sense of responsibility to help and inability to do enough (and sometimes anything). With his phrase, he removed any sense of peace I might have with the world in its present state. I could not be of this world even though I am in it.

This has engendered a sense of gratitude in me for what I have and a desire to give beyond myself to others. I cannot often define their need, but I know it is there whether near to me or far away. So, I pass the phrase along to you: “Ain’t they God’s little lambs, too?”