Pastor in the Pasture: New Year and Empty Buckets | TSLN.com

Pastor in the Pasture: New Year and Empty Buckets

Wendel Elliot

One of the first things a ranch kid learns is how useful buckets are to the outfit. They are plentiful and vital to an operation. They also come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They were once coffee cans, peanut cans, old tomato cans, and five gallon buckets that have come from near and far. As that kid, I remember carrying feed, bolts, and even gathering eggs in a bucket. The many cans and buckets lying around the feed and tack room were a prized commodity. They were off limits or banned from being considered trash or junk. They could be found on shelves, hanging on fences, and even in the back of the feed truck. Even though some might consider them empty and useless, they can still be filled with things of value or things that are very much needed.

A New Year is upon us and goals and resolutions are being made. We shape and mold our goals to accomplish things for the year. We have the regular times that are easy to put in the calendar, like calving, branding, and shipping. We're intentional about that stuff around the ranch. When do we need to order feed? We need to make sure we get hay cut and baled. Worming and vaccinations are a must on the operation. Our calendar gets like some of those coffee cans or buckets on the shelf of the shop, full and with a wide range of stuff. It's easy to do. I know that I have looked up and thought, "Yeah, I have time to squeeze one more thing into the calendar."

I have found that when you don't put the big rocks in first then all the pea gravel fills up your calendar and then you don't have space for the important stuff. Now I'm not saying that cutting and baling hay isn't important. However, I am saying that there are things like family time and regular time alone with God that are more important. To me, time alone with God and family time need to be those big rocks. They're the big bolts in the can on the shelf and putting them in first can hold things together and can make you and your family stronger.

There are other big rocks as well. Handling money is important. Having a healthy attitude about money and how to handle it are something that too few of us do well. I know I'm still working on it.

Health issues that are in our control are easily taken for granted. If you don't have good health then you probably wish you would have changed things. Just ask the feller lying on his back in the hospital because of high blood pressure and a possible heart attack.

Here are a couple of verses that have to do with putting God in your feed bucket first and some results:

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"The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand." (Psalm 37:23-24 NIV)

"All a person's ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans…In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps." (Proverbs 16:2-3, 9 NIV)

What will you put in your feed bucket this year? I hope that you'll look to Him for direction and put Him in first.

I hope you are having a safe and Happy New Year. I'll see ya'll out in the pasture!