About a year ago, I was visiting a monastery in central Massachusetts where there is peace and quiet and a chance to be in nature. So as I was walking from my car to the front door, I happened to notice two very large animals roaming free on the grounds. I got a better look and I could see what they were: llamas. But as I looked at one of them, he was looking at me, and he was a little more curious about me than I was about him. So, he started coming toward me. Knowing nothing about llamas except that they can spit in your face, and certainly nothing why they would be roaming about a monastery, I didn’t want to have my first experience as a no-holds-barred one-on-one. So I high-tailed it into the house.
A few weeks ago I was back and I had the chance to talk a walk with the abbot. While we were walking, I started to ask about the llamas. “So, what’s the story with the llamas that are out here sometimes?” He tells me that the neighbors have sheep, and that the llamas are good for guarding the sheep. Apparently, they get in with the sheep and become one of them, attached to them. Then, they defend the sheep as their own. “They’re better than dogs or donkeys for guarding the sheep.”
Now, if you haven’t seen llamas before, picture a smaller, gentler, sillier-looking version of a camel. Not quite a ferocious hunter or predator, more like a pet. So I’m wondering, “What do they do?” I mean, how can your curious, friendly domestic pet defend a herd of sheep from a wild coyote? Without a pause, the abbot said, “Oh, they’ll spit in the coyote’s face in a way he’ll never forget.” The only thing llamas have to defend themselves is, of all things, their nasty spit. n fact, they are expert spitters. And they have deadly accuracy.
Silence. I’m thinking, Go guard llama! I love it!
Remember the story of David and Goliath? Goliath is the wild predator intimidating God’s people, and little, friendly David shows up to fight him and defend them.
Your servant used to keep sheep for his father; and when there came a lion or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and smote him and delivered it out of his mouth; and if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and smote him and killed him. Your servant has killed both lions and bears; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God. (1 Sam 34-36)
Now the only thing that little David had to defend himself is his slingshot. But he’s an expert slinger. And he has deadly accuracy. One shot, right between the eyes. End of predator.
If God calls you to protect the ones entrusted to you, don’t be afraid if it seems like a big mismatch, if you’re the domestic type and not the fighting type. Remember David and the llama, trust in what God has already given you. Use your expertise, the thing you have deadly accuracy with. All it takes is one shot, right between the eyes.
Go guard llama!