Mad Cow Disease

masaai cattleSeveral years ago, I was at a remote mission compound of World Gospel Mission in Kenya.  The compound was at Oldergesi, deep in Maasai Land. It was New Years Eve, and one of our missionaries had asked me to bring the watch night sermon. Like many cultures, the Maasai men are not overly involved in church. I wanted to get the men to come to the service if possible. The Maasai are a nomadic pastoralist people – their cattle are their life, and they are amazing animal husbandmen. I came through London on my way to Kenya. The newspapers were full of alarming reports of Mad Cow Disease. Thousands of cattle had either died of the disease or had to be destroyed for fear they would contaminate healthy animals. The disease was also showing up in the United States and several other countries.

Believe it or not, these remote villagers were well aware of Mad Cow Disease. Some of the men from time to time walked to Narok, the seat of tribal government for the Maasai People. It was approximately 55 miles to the town. Narok had a few places where television was available, and the men loved to see soccer, wrestling, and especially the news. They had heard of the outbreak of Mad Cow Disease and were gravely concerned. I sought to take advantage of their concern. The word circulated through the Oldergesi area that the topic of my watch night message would be “Mad Cow Disease.” I have a fairly strong biology background, so I armed myself with  newspapers I had brought from London along with some general knowledge of the disease and went to work on the sermon. A large group of men came and gathered around the building. Not many came in, but the men jockeyed for position around the open windows and doors.

Following the example of Jesus, I developed a message based on something with which Maasai were familiar.  I will not regale you with the details of the message, but I want to share the spiritual application. I shared with the people how Mad Cow  Disease interfered with the messages from the brain of the cows to muscles and various other organs. The cows would stagger and stumble and fall. Finally, unable to control muscles and other organs, they died terrible deaths. I then used the analogy that what Mad Cow Disease did to the animals, so sin does to humans. Sin interferes with messages from the Head, which is Jesus, to us. I let them know that sin, just like Mad Cow Disease, if not treated will end in death. It is also passed from one ‘infected’ person to another. I told the people about the cure for sin. The blood of Jesus that was shed for them was the answer. The Maasai already believed, as did our ancient Hebrew ancestors, that “life is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11). I shared with them, “He (Jesus) is the One who loves us, who made us free from our sins with the blood of His death” (Revelation 1:5). 

Thank God the Gospel of Jesus Christ transcends cultures and time. Jesus is able to save from sin, the deadly disease of the soul. Is sin interfering with God’s message to you? Jesus is the remedy.

~ Brother Roy

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