CattleforChrist Elijah 81398, was without question the very best bull of any breed that I have ever seen—and I have seen a lot of them around the country and around the world. This Angus bull had it all; pedigree, performance, confirmation, soundness, EPD package, carcass evaluations, temperament, fleshing ability, thickness, depth, and was as long as a freight train! His calves were better than any from our other sires (natural or artificially inseminated). Yep, he had it all, yet after just one calf crop, he got sick and died.
Elijah was no ordinary bull, neither was His name, but that too had a purpose. He was owned by an unusual entity, in the cattle business anyway. All the proceeds he generated (and over $250,000.00 was on the table when he died), would all go to an unusual cause; not to pad someone’s pocket, but it would all be used to meet the spiritual and physical needs of men, women and children all around the world. Elijah literally and legally belonged to the Lord, all the income he generated would go to the Lord’s work, yet he lived just long enough to calve one small calf crop, then he died.
I am ashamed to admit it, but I had some questions for the Lord the day we put him down and during some of the days since. “Lord, I know Elijah was your bull. You created him and he was wonderfully made. You gave him to us and you blessed our efforts to raise him and generate a great interest among an international audience. But Lord, he was only with us long enough to generate a few calves and now it appears that he will generate no money for mission work. Why did you create such a wonderful animal, allow him to be born and to live such a short life, just to die at the time that his full potential as a bull was about to be achieved? Why was he born if just to die?”
I do not yet have an answer to this question, but I trust the Lord’s judgment and His ability to give or take away what is already His and to do whatever is best to accomplish His purposes.
However, at this time of year, I know that there are many people who also have questions. Why was this Jesus born and what was and is the significance of His short life? His ministry was just beginning. The numbers of His followers was growing rapidly. He had just recently performed the most amazing miracles that the world had ever seen. He was declared a King but no one could see His Kingdom. Why was He born and what is the significance of His life?
In short, Jesus was born to die! God could not die, so He became flesh so that He could die in order that we could have eternal life. Jesus was born to do the Father’s will (Heb 10:9) He did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). He came as a gift from God: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 6:23). He came to show us the Father so that we could see God’s love and character lived out (John 14:9). He came to take away the sin of all in the world who will put their faith in Him (Heb 9:28). He came to take upon Himself our sicknesses, diseases, transgression and sorrow and in exchange offered us His peace, salvation and eternal life (Is 53 and Jn 3:16). He came to give us hope and a future for the times in life when we see neither without Him (Jer 29:11). He came to give us companionship, help and security when all others, including our families, forsake us: “There is one who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov 18:24). “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you (Heb 13:5). Jesus came so that we could not only have life, but have it more abundantly (Jn 10:10). He came to us as God’s gift to us (2Cor 9:15). If you look in scripture, the list just goes on and on in answer to our question: “Why was He born?”
One of the greatest misconceptions about Jesus’ birth is that He came to condemn the world—He came to punish us if we do wrong. In reality, His purpose was just the opposite and that is what makes his coming so wonderful and why we should run to Him instead of away from Him, why we should be seeking Him and not rejecting Him, and why we should be telling everyone about Him.
In John 3:17, we see that Jesus did not come to condemn us, but to save us. Because of our sin, we stand condemned already! We do not have to do change anything to die and spend eternity in Hell. That is already our destiny. But Jesus came as the way out, a gift, to save us so that we could be free from the penalty of sin and have eternal life.
You see, John 3:16 tells us that God send His son Jesus as a gift of love. He loves us so much He gave His only Son, so that One could die for the sins of all. One could take upon Himself our punishment that we all deserve. How can we claim to love God and at the same time reject the gift of His Son Jesus?
He lived only a short time, but He was the greatest gift ever given. His death seemed untimely and final, but His resurrection revealed the rest of the story. His gift of forgiveness, peace and eternal life is for everyone. His short life changed history and the eternal destinies of literally billions of people who already have and/or who will in the future accept His forgiveness and follow Him.
This Christmas season, accept God’s gift to you. Nothing else will compare. He was born to give His life for you!