There was a local livestock show happening in town the other day. As both 4-H and FFA chapters showed their best livestock, I overheard one dad say to his 1st time showing son as he exited the ring, “Don’t forget to thank the judge.” The son stopped, shook the judge’s hand, left the ring, wishing he would have done better as he was sifted from the ring.
The sad exhibitor then put his animal back to his pin and asked his dad, “Why do I need to thank the judge when I didn’t agree with how he placed my animal? I should have placed better, but he didn’t see it that way.”
The dad, who looked at this as a profound teaching moment said, “Son, the point of showing livestock, isn’t so you’d win more ribbons. It’s about becoming a better person in life. No matter what life throws at you, you must always remember to thank the judge.”
The son still looked puzzled, “But I still don’t see how me thanking the judge has anything to do with life?”
The dad said, “The judge did not have to be here today. He didn’t have to volunteer His time. He didn’t have to leave his family early this morning so he could sort through your classes. He came willingly and unselfishly for you. It’s important to thank the judge.”
“That makes sense.” Said the son.
The Dad continued, “And son, you may not realize it now, but that show ring is actually preparing you for a mighty day ahead.”
“How’s that?” The son replied.
“Well son, it’s a day that will be happening very soon. On that day, everything will stop. There won’t be any more shows, concerts, games or any more activities on earth. The Lord Jesus is going to crack open the sky and make His return to His people. And Son, I hope your heart will be ready as He will sift through the hearts of men to see if we have accepted Him or not.”
The son responded, “But what does that have to do with the show ring?”
The dad answered, “Son, God is the judge. He willingly and unselfishly gave His Son to die on a cross so that we might be saved from our sin. And on that day, every knee will bow and every tongue will say that Jesus is Lord and my hope for you is you’ll be able to do what you just did in the show ring.”
“What’s that Dad?” Said the son.
The Dad responsed, “I hope on that day and every day until then, that you Don’t Forget to Thank the Judge.”