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  • Ben Sargent

Cattle and Christians

Cattle and Christians

We’re so alike! Now that may strike some of us uncomfortably (particularly our ladies), but it’s so true! “So, Ben, why would you begin your blogging ministry by comparing us to animals?” you may ask. To quote Mr. Cutler: “That’s a great question and I’m glad ye asked it!”

Yesterday I had six animals in our working paddock waiting to be worked. When I say waiting, I mean waiting! I’ve been fencing 5 acres across the street from our farm that belong to our neighbors. I sunk a round, six-inch wood post every ten feet, that was eight feet tall and sunk two feet down and tamped into place. I used woven wire fence for animal restraint. This was my first time with this type fencing, and it wore me slam out. Not much blood though, so it’s all good. Oh, but that’s not all! I also had to build the cattle chute into which we’d restrain them so I could work them safely (them AND me). I used repurposed highway guard rails, new and old pressure treated lumber, an old head gate brought from our previous farm and a six-foot gate for sorting. And just like that, we’re good to go - after two months of every free minute.

Of the six animals, five were calves and one was a yearling (Jesse) who was hanging with the calves for bovine instruction and comfort. The calves were in the working paddock to be weaned and this is an emotionally traumatic event for them. So I left a mentor in with them for guidance and comfort.

My plan was to work these 6 yesterday after work, but I had an outlaw calf who decided that he’d brave the 6K-volt electric fence (it’s DC, so it hurts but doesn’t kill) to get where the grass was greener—twice in two days, so I had to adjust my timeline. So I took yesterday off from my job, reconned my wayward lad, got everyone in a pen and went to work. Simple, right? 😊

Jesse, the mentor steer, was first in the chute; he knows the drill. He walked up the chute into the head gate and waited for his 7-way booster shot to prevent black leg and 6 other potentially herd-killing diseases. We don’t use antibiotics unless it’s to save an animal’s life, but this anti-viral preventive is critical for animal safety. Next up was Homie—so named because he was born the Sunday of our church homecoming service. Homie is a gentle fella who lets me scratch his head (well, he used to anyway!) and brush him. He’s my favorite calf out of this crop because of his build and his temperament. The calves required more work than did Jesse and, just like God’s children, the younger they are, often, the more work they need. We start by tagging him. I put his name on an ear tag and my name on the back of the tag with my phone number. The tag shows his name and that he belongs to me. When we trust the Lord Jesus as our Saviour, he gives us a new name and with unremovable ink calls us his own.

Then I gave him his 7-way and a tetanus shot to prevent infection for what was next. I needed to band him to make him a steer. To do so and NOT get kicked in the grill, I tied both of his legs to the side of the chute and effected the banding. Sometimes God must do some pruning in our lives (thankfully not normally THIS!!) to prepare us to grow into what best glorifies him. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable. Sometimes we don’t desire it. Sometimes God must get behind us and shove us into the head gate for our own benefit. But what I’ve learned, hopefully well, in my last forty plus years as God’s man is that what he does, he does for his glory and my good.

Cattle are a whole lot like Christians. We get tagged to our husbandman who cares for us. If we get outside the fence, he comes to get us and provide a safe place. If we have special needs, he cares for us sometimes with a temporary or lifelong mentor. And if we need pruning, prevention or preparation for growth, the husbandman provides what is needed when it is needed in the manner he finds best for his glory and our good. Cattle are SO much like Christians!

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