Did you know that the number one deterrent for weight gain in cattle is flies?
Flies aggravate even the most stubborn cattle. So this time of year, cowboys all over this nation get a soft streak and, to help out our bovine friends, we go to fly taggin’. Okay, maybe it’s not a soft streak, we just know that, if the boss man’s cattle don’t gain weight, we will be hunting a new job.
I got the opportunity to tag some cattle recently. We had all of our cattle penned and ready to go. All them cattle had to do was come up the alley, stick their head in the chute, get their ear pierced, and they could eat in peace. That doesn’t seem too bad, does it? It doesn’t to me.
But if you have ever worked cattle and tried to convince them of that fact, you know it’s easier said than done. I tried my entire bag of cow-whispering tricks. “Come on, guys, I just want to help you out. I don’t want to hurt you or take anything from you.” Even with all that whispering, it still got down to some serious whippin’ and shoutin’ before them cattle would consider that trip down to the chute.
I don’t know about your pens, but every pen I’ve ever worked in has a mud hole. The nastiest place on earth, it never fails that them cattle park right in the middle of that mud hole. And it never fails, if you got a hole in your boots, they ain’t coming out ‘til you go in and get them.
See, for some reason, them cattle feel safer in that mud hole. There is no food, no water, no shade … and still they feel safer there than the short trip up that alley. Go figure.
At one point, I stepped back and God showed me something. See, them cattle where scared. They did not know what was ahead. They might have remembered a time before when someone was beating them up that alley. Whatever the reason, they were scared. Then God again showed me that I ain’t any smarter than cattle.
So many times in my own life I felt that standing in the middle of that mud hole was safer than that trip up the alley. I was sure God would kill me, or at least take away all my fun. It wasn’t ‘til one well-placed hot shot sent me up that alley that I then saw all God wants is to help me, to love me, to give me peace. He wants to get the flies in my life away so I can grow to my full potential.
For years I made several trips up that alley, kickin’, cussing and fighting the whole way. I’d almost make it in only to climb the walls and jump out again. Thanks to God for His grace and mercy! He never gave up on me.
I finally surrendered and I’ve been growing ever since. God wants you. He wants to give you peace. He wants to see you grow to your full potential.
In some ways, church is like a fly tag. The church is there to help you grow, to shoo off pesky flies that are keeping you from growing. Church is the place we come to for food and water, for shelter when the storms of life hit us hard and try to take us out.
Jesus says in Luke, “I have come for the sick, not the perfect.” You may have been beat up in the alley of church, or heard stories of someone hurt by church. If so, I apologize for that. See, we are all sinners and we do make mistakes, but God never does. He loves you and wants to see you grow.
Right now there are 200 plus AFCC cowboy churches across the nation with one goal in mind: simply to help God show you how much He loves you. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have ever lasting life.”
That is what God has waiting for you at the end of that alley. Not death or destruction, but everlasting life. So I encourage you, make that trip up the chute this Sunday. Go to church. Don’t be scared. We’ll be there to help shoo the flies off your back so you can grow to your full potential.