How to “steer” your life in the right direction.

by Kevin on May 19, 2010

About 12 years ago, my dad was pasturing some cattle on our neighbor’s alfalfa field. He had planted oats over the top of the alfalfa to feed the cattle through the winter. Towards the end of the winter, we had to be very careful. When the alfalfa started blooming, the cattle would eat it and then bloat and die. My dad went out of town one weekend and my brother and I were getting ready to go out dancing. We had already checked the cattle that morning and everything looked fine. As we were were leaving, we looked over at the cows and it seemed that a few were laying down in some unusual spots. I nearly blew it off because we were already dressed and cleaned up real good. Jason and I decided to just go and check it out before we left. The alfalfa had bloomed that day and we already had one dead and several other down. We spent the rest of that evening and well into the night gathering the cattle and doctorin’ them so they wouldn’t die. We didn’t go dancing that night.

When the contract was up, it was time to ship these cattle back to their owner. My dad and my brother and I saddled up to go get these cows and drive them to the shipping pens. The cows were on a circular alfalfa field with only a two strand hot wire fence keeping them in. For the most part, the fence worked well while the cattle were supposed to be inside the fence. We lowered a big section of the fence so that we could get the cattle out of the field. The cows were so used to the fence being there that we couldn’t get them to cross.

Now remember, this is a circular field and there was only three of us. We would push them up to the spot where the fence was down and dad would tell us just to sit there and let them find the opening. We would wait and wait and wait and wait and wait and finally the cattle would get restless and start trying to leave. We would try to keep them from running off and then before you know it, one would bust through and the rest would charge after it. We would then turn around and go get them again and start this process all over.

The cows would stay right up against the side where the fence was down for a little while but they didn’t want to cross that part where they thought the fence was. Dad was getting paid for how much weight the cattle gained. He naturally didn’t want the cattle doing a bunch of running and losing weight. Weight was money. So we slowly gathered these cows and pushed them up to that magical spot. They would stay for a little while and just stand there and then they would bust through us and we would start the process again.

Just like Noah and the flood, it seemed like we did this routine with the cows for 40 days and 40 nights. I kept telling my dad that when we got them up there to the hole in the fence that we could just stampede them and they would go through. He kept telling me just to be patient. I was patient the first “forty” times. Then it happened—my patience wore out.

I calmly helped gather the cows once again and drive them back to that particular spot. When we got them up there and before they could get restless and run off again, I was going to stampede them through that opening. I had to do something before all of the male members of my family perished from lack of food and water. Jason had already passed out in the saddle and had flies crawling on his lips. Kind of reminded me of those people from Africa. Dad had somehow contracted instant Alzheimer’s because he couldn’t remember that his way didn’t work the first 3,793,597,283 times. I had to act quickly for the sake of the family.

The moment had come and I was ready to literally spur my horse into action. I was a little nervous because I would be doing something that my dad had specifically forbidden me to do. Right before I plunged my horse into the middle of that herd, I looked at my dad. He looked right into my soul and in a moment of lucidity, free from the Alzheimer’s for just a moment, he said, “DON”T YOU DO IT!!!”cowboy church stampede

I gave a big cowboy war cry and whipped and spurred my horse directly into that mass of cattle. They really didn’t know what to do at first. As they kind of woke up, a couple of cows on the other end were so frightened that they “jumped” over the electrical fence that was no longer there. The rest of the cattle wanted away from this screaming cowboy that was loping his horse in their midst. The screaming cowboy was Jason, he had regained consciousness and was trying to get the flies off his face.

The only thing that saved me from getting killed that day was the fact that it had actually worked real well. The cattle once started, just went easily to the pens and we got our work done. Dad, I know you are reading this and if it makes you feel any better, my way only worked so I would have a good story to tell this morning. I realize as I get older, the wisdom of the way dad was working those cows. I wanted to drive them away, but dad wanted to gently lead them in the right direction. This is kind of what Jesus was talking about in John chapter 6 verse 37:

(37)All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.

Jesus is constantly talking to us and trying to guide us in a certain direction. Just like dumb cows, we get right up to the point where He wants us to go and then we bust out and go right back to our old comfortable sinful life. Unlike me, Jesus will never stampede us to make us do something. He will just keep asking and asking and asking.

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  • Jesus may not stampeded us in a direction, but he’ll eventually start CLOSING doors to make sure we don’t go the wrong way. I have a friend who had so many choices in front of her that she froze for almost a week on making a decision. Then one day she didn’t have to worry about it as all the opportunities except for one collapsed. But I suppose that assumes that we’ve come close to Jesus and are trying to figure out which way to go from there and not whether or not to run away and be comfortable and again.

    • Kevin

      I have found that I usually know in my heart the way Jesus wants me to go, but that is often the more difficult way. When I finally give in, I figure out that not only was it the best way, but God provided everything I needed.

      I’ve been mad at some of those closed doors before and then thanked God for them later.

  • Stampeding works only because of fear. 1 John 4 says, ‘There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” I am so glad our Father directs us in love, not pushing us through fear. –Richard

    • Kevin

      I totally agree, but I wish sometimes God would use a hot shot on me. I know that he won’t, but I think if he would reach out and tag me I might get a little more done.

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