Focal Passage: Amos 2:6-16
If you ask the friend I have had the longest what he does for a living, his answer will immediately be “TMI.”
TMI, for those of you who don’t know, is the 21st century way to say that someone has shared too much; they have given you too much information. He is now a tobacco and cattle farmer in my hometown but that won’t be his entire answer. Actually to call him a farmer is a bit of a stretch, as doing so seems to imply that farming is how he makes his living. While indirectly farming is a part of what he does, a one-word name for his occupation would be “breeder.”
My friend is a cattle breeder. He uses the latest in science, technology and veterinary medicine to impregnate heifers, and his descriptions of his “call” really are just too much for most people’s imaginations much less their stomachs. If you can pardon the bad pun, I will tell you that the off-spring of his labors, have proven to be award-winning steers.
Well I don’t know if Amos’ sheep were award winning, but we do find out in Amos that he was a “sheep breeder.” He was also a “tender of sycamore fruit” and while all of that is interesting, even important, it isn’t the point. Amos’ occupations are interesting because, well how many sheep breeders and/or fig farmers do you know? They are important for two reasons; one was their parts in the greater economy of his day. The second reason, though, is the one of consequence for us here and now.
Amos was willing to risk everything he had, up to and including his very livelihood to speak
the word of the Lord. The minor prophet wails against the ills of the land in three areas. He speaks about legal problems, social injustices and religious dilemmas.
Though not a scholar or politically important man, Amos was willing to step out of his roll, because God called him to say something. Amos was willing to rock the boat, for the simple reason that the boat, God told him, needed rocking.
Maybe it is easier for folks who haven’t climbed “so far up the ladder” to be willing to risk everything because theoretically at least, they’d have less to lose. But isn’t your everything — everything, no matter where you start? How willing would we be to risk our livelihood to speak up for God?