Pastor in the Pasture: Feed Trucks and “Cruise Control”
There was a time back when the words, “The feed truck is here,” meant to unload it would require more than just yourself. Back before T&S, Bar6, and Diamond S cube feeders on the back of flatbed pickups. When overhead feed bins were usually at the feedlot or your local feed mill. Yes, the times of the cake sack. A truck load was something you’d like to hire the local high school football team to tackle.
You may remember what that was like or you may still have an operation that uses quite a few sacks. You backed up the ranch truck to the feed barn many a time. You loaded her full of 50 pound sacks to make your feed run. You got to the pasture, called the cattle up and got a count. You got all your sacks ready, standing up and opened in the back of that pick up. You dropped the tailgate and walked back to the cab. Then you did something that OSHA would have been proud of…you put that truck in low gear and let it go! While it creeped across the pasture you jumped up in the back and poured out each sack as the pickup was on “cruise control.” What could you do? I mean you were by yourself and needed to get the job done. It brings a whole new meaning to that song, “Jesus Take The Wheel.”
Then, it happened to you one day…you jumped out to grab a sack that fell off the truck and the pickup got away from you. You looked like some Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin movie chasing after a runaway pickup across the pasture. The cows looked at you once or twice but went back to eating the cake that was already on the ground. They couldn’t help you out anyway. If you had it on video then you could’ve been the $100,000 winner on America’s Funniest Home Videos.
We can feel like that sometimes as we follow Christ. We feel like we got bounced off the feed truck. We’re chasing after it, but it’s just a few steps out of reach. We messed up and did something wrong. We fell off and found ourselves face down in the dirt.
In Luke chapter 3 we find one account of John the Baptist: “He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all people will see God’s salvation.’ ” (Luke 3:4-6 NIV)
Sometimes we’re on those rough roads that bounce us out of the pickup. The interesting thing is we were the ones that put the pickup in drive and let it go across the rough pasture. We were the ones putting ourself where we shouldn’t have been. We are the ones that fell to sin. The good news is there’s repentance.
Repentance is kind of like finding yourself bounced off the feed truck and then doing something about it. Repent and get back on. When we make an honest confession of our guilt and take responsibility for our own actions, then we find ourselves back in the truck with Jesus.
Well, I better go catch the feed truck. I’ll see ya’ll out in the pasture!