Amos and a friend were relieved of their shepherd duties for a couple of days. Amos’ mother wanted him to go into town to purchase a new pottery bowl for her. The two friends walked along talking about—what else?—their sheep. After all, they spent most of their time corralling, tending, feeding, leading, or protecting these woolly creatures.
As they drew near the little town of Bethlehem, they speculated on what the tanner or the carpenter or the man with vegetables might have available today. They enjoyed seeing new things and faces other than sheep! Shyly, they glanced around at the wares for sale. Amos had brought a sheep skin coat with him in hopes of trading it for a new stool from the carpenter, but Tarsha, the carpenter’s son was the only one in the shop.
Tarsha and Amos used to play together years ago when they were younger, but now that they were sixteen and seventeen, they’re paths seemed to have parted. In fact, the last time Amos was in town, he had overheard Tarsha talking to a friend. They spoke of the “sheep boys” in derogatory terms.
“I guess the sheep boys will be coming in town today,” Tarsha had said.
“Yes,we’ll know when they get here. We’ll be able to smell them!” the two boys bent over in haughty laughter.
When Amos and his friend approached the carpenter’s shop, Tarsha glanced up but did not speak. Amos opted to nod and walk on by.
“I thought you wanted to buy a stool,” his friend queried.
“Not today.” Amos rushed along.
To make matters worse, the innkeeper’s son stood in the path as if to deny them passage. Amos moved on around him to the potter’s stand to purchase the bowl for his mother. They found another way to go back around the town and return to the hills where they felt safe and at home.
The next day, Amos slumped down on a stone. His father, Ariah, placed his hand on Amos’ shoulder. “What is it son?”
“I don’t understand how things have gone so wrong with my friends in town.”
His father sat beside him. “These young men have taken on the trade of their fathers just as you have. They think their position in life is far superior to ours. But remember son, your work is just as important as theirs. The pure lambs we breed and care for are used for Temple sacrifices. Nothing can compare with that. Our work is honorable. It is dedicated to the Lord. They don’t always understand that.”
Ariah continued, “One day, the Lord’s Messiah will come and bring peace to us. Remember the prophecy,
“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6