Most of the time I never remember my dreams. When I do, I know they are from the Lord. Lately, the Lord has been reminding me of one I had several years ago, long before I began to serve as a chaplain.
The scene appeared as almost a flat image like a Grandma Moses painting. A rancher stood behind a long table placed in front of a barn bulging with provisions. The rancher was obviously very prosperous. He wore an expensive ten-gallon hat, fancy cowboy boots, and a western shirt that showed gaps between the strained buttons across his rotund belly. Although his barn was full, the table remained empty.
Sheep filled his barnyard. All of them were lying on the ground either dead or dying of starvation. These sheep had human faces. One in the lower right hand corner of the picture feebly raised his hoof in petition to the fat rancher to give him something to eat.
The fat rancher only laughed, but had no compassion on the starving sheep.
Several months later when I read Ezekiel chapter 34, I knew this scripture connected to my dream. I marked “Fat Ranchers” in the margin.
“Son of man, . . .say to those shepherds, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? You eat the fat sheep without feeding the flock. Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them. . . .therefore, you shepherds hear the word of the Lord: Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I shall demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep. So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I shall deliver My flock from their mouth, that they may not be food for them. Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. . . I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken, and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment.”’”
When I read that I bowed my head and prayed, “Oh, Lord God, may I never be a fat rancher.” This has become a life-long prayer.