For us living in Southern California, goats are usually pets or something we visit at a pumpkin patch before Halloween. We don’t have much experience with livestock and any sort of farm animal is mostly just an anomaly. This isn’t the case in other parts of the world. In other parts of the world an animal like a goat brings hope.
Goats bring hope.
Last weekend in service we announced that CBC would be buying three goats for three families in Pakistan. We’ll actually be buying three goats for three families in Bangladesh, but the idea is the same. For a family in Bangladesh, a goat is a symbol of hope. A goat is a steady source of nutrition and income. Families can milk the goat and produce dairy products for themselves, as well as sell those products to others.
Imagine if you didn’t have a grocery store for 100 miles and no other way to get food; you would feel pretty hopeless. Then, imagine if a grocery store opened right next door to your home and you could buy fruits, veggies, meat and a few pints of Ben & Jerry’s. You would have hope because you would be able to care for and provide for your family. That would be a life-altering moment.
Our desire as a church is to bring that hope to three families in need. To us, it’s just a goat that we would visit at a petting zoo. For these families, a goat brings hope.
Goats aren’t the only ones who bring hope, though. During the season of Advent, we reflect on the hopeful waiting of the nation of Israel before Christ’s birth and our hopeful waiting for his return. As we wait for Christ to return, though, we can live with hope because Jesus already showed up at the first Christmas. Jesus gave us hope at his birth, the hope that God didn’t forget us and that we can be transformed.
So, goats bring hope. Jesus brings hope. And we can bring hope to others by living with hope.