Obviously the important part of this chapter is God's covenant with Noah following worldwide judgment. Sin caused this judgment and God's infinite mercy was on display in the covenant, promising that God would never again destroy the earth with a flood. But one result of this covenant was the allowance to eat anything we want.
Without this verse, John Goeke would not have much of a business. His "business" is running a sheep farm. They sell the butchered sheep, mostly at the Farmer's Market in Madison. The remaining sheep and 3 rams are sheared once a year to be sold as wool. I was able to watch some sheep being sheared and help to clean and sort some of the wool. Since the shearing only happens one day out of the year, I was grateful to have joined with them on this cool March day. As I helped, I recalled the little yellow lamb that was my favorite stuffed animal as a very young child. For some strange and ironic reason, I named the lamb "meat."
I am not a champion grillmaster, but who doesn't like to enjoy bacon-wrapped shrimp (my favorite recipe) on the grill, Wisconsin brats, marinated chicken, burgers, the occasional steak and of course lamb. The Goeke family business is an interesting intersection of free market principles and Biblical stewardship. Since the Goekes are good stewards of their animals, shepherding and caring for them as best they can, their final "product" is certain to fetch the best price--both the prized cuts of meat and beautiful skeins of homegrown wool.
John is the main breadwinner but like most farms, it is a family affair. On shearing day, fourteen year old Sylvan was sorting enormous piles of wool into eight foot long plastic bags. Virginia was bustling with energy today as well but also contributes to the family business with her best-selling homemade soaps. The Goekes grow and sell a lot of fruit from their varied orchard. If a product sells well at the market, they like to keep their hands involved.
John does not utilize their labrador mutt "Junior" as a sheep dog, lead his flock "beside still waters" or have to fight off lions and bears as King David did. Nevertheless, he does shepherd these animals with respect and care. They are his to use. He has a God bestowed dominion over every last one yet he also knows full well that God remains the true owner of this flock. That's Biblical stewardship. It's pretty cool when your job description is lifted from the first chapter of the Bible. "And let them have dominion over...the livestock."