“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!
Across the road from my in-law’s house is a pasture the Vielhuber’s have used for years. This summer, Rick’s son Darran had 18 head of cattle in the pasture. While it is a great pasture, catching cattle in the pasture is another story. Earlier this fall, Darran wanted to catch one of the bulls to breed a heifer in the barnyard. It was easier to turn the heifer into the pasture than catch a bull.
The last few weeks, the feed in the pasture was dwindled. The growing season is over. The cattle need to be moved by the barn for the winter. And the Great Round-Up began.
About 10 days ago, Darran and Rick began. Plan A was to entice the cattle with the feeder wagon they had been eating out of the last couple weeks. The cattle would be led into the barnyard at Rick’s parents and trailered back to our barn. However, this meant crossing a state highway. On the day Rick’s mom was admitted to the hospital, Darran and Rick made their first attempt. The cattle got up to the highway edge … but they would not cross the white line along the road edge. A former church member drove by. She stopped to help them. It didn’t work.
When I got back from the hospital, we tried again. I had my running shoes on, Rick had the yard cart and Darran drove the tractor. Every neighbor drove by. Some came back to help. Others tried to stay out of the way. We got the cattle again to the road, but no one would cross the line. We made one last try. In every herd of cattle, there is one boss cow. She was not going to be rounded up and the others followed.
Time for Plan B. Rick’s Dad suggested using gates to make a corral in the pasture. The cattle would be enticed into the corral with feed. Once in the corral, they would be loaded onto the trailer. Simple, right? Wrong.
In the first attempt, the gates were not secure. The cattle knocked down the gates and got out. Re-enforcement gates were brought in. Slowly, the process worked. Four heifers were loaded. Another four. Darran, Rick, grandson Waylan and Rick’s dad chipped away, loading out a few cattle at a time until all made it into the trailer. Whew. This was a several day process. Some cattle escaped while loading others. A few disagreeable ones really didn’t want to be rounded up. But eventually, the 2013 Great Round-up was over.
I wonder if God every feels part of a Great Round-up. People say they believe in God and want the benefits of being part of God’s family. But when it comes time to be part of God’s kingdom through the church, they escape. They won’t cross certain lines of dedication. Often, there is one boss person who makes being part of a faith community unpleasant and tries to pull people away from the goodness of a faith community. When people get inside the church, some can’t wait to get back out, busting away for seemingly insignificant reasons. Some people are just plain disagreeable; they can’t ever been happy with what is happening within the church.
Thank goodness we have a God that never gives up on the Great Round-up. Thank goodness God keeps going after us time after time, never losing patience or perseverance. God wants us all loaded onto the same trailer, the one destined for eternal life. Why do we find it so hard to want to be part of this Great Round-Up?
Lord God, how patience you are with us. How often we try to run away from you. Thank you for always welcoming us back into your kingdom. Please it on our hearts a deep desire to want to run towards you, repent and believe in your kingdom. Amen.
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