Pastor on the Pasture: The squeeze chute of self control
There are many times as cattle ranchers where you may find the need to restrain livestock in some form or fashion. They are under your care and you need to administer that care. That can include vaccines, castrating bull calves, dehorning, or worming. That list could be identification such as brands, tags, and/or ear marks. You must use the best possible manner with as little stress but yet with enough containment to get the job done. There are about as many techniques to restraining cattle or livestock as there are needs to require that restraint.
Depending on where you hang your hat or the kind of outfit you manage or own may determine the type of restraint that is used. Some folks have the equipment and ability to restrain cattle in multiple ways on their own place. You have different sizes and shapes of cattle chutes that have a whole industry built around that type of equipment. Manually operated, hydraulic or even air driven roping chutes can be purchased and utilized. For branding calves there is the use of chutes or calf cradles or the option of roping. Even with the option of roping there are several techniques that may be used. You have heading and heeling, dragging and holding with a nord fork, or possibly dragging with a set of flankers. All of these techniques hold the calf in place while administering needed care for the animal. As you can see restraint can be a good thing.
The apostle Paul wrote some on restraint and is what is known as self control. That’s what you do when restraining livestock. You are controlling the animal to keep it from getting loose before care is administered. We need to exercise self control in our lives when it comes to our walk with Christ. Yes, His grace and forgiveness is sufficient to cover and save us from sin. However, when we are a growing and maturing Christian we must exercise self control. In Titus we find these words that Paul wrote, “You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled…For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,” (Titus 2:1-6, 11-12 NIV)
Notice the theme of being self controlled weaved throughout the passage. Obviously these folks that Titus was dealing with lacked some of it. He was probably looking for a squeeze chute or a nord fork to put some of them in, to teach them a thing or two.
Where are you seeing some areas you need to exercise some self control? We all need it sometimes in different ways at different levels of intensity. What’s important is to realize and admit where you need it and apply God’s word and through the Holy Spirit to foster that self control.
Well, here comes the next calf, I better get back to it.
I’ll see ya’ll out in the pasture!
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood, for the Feb. 20, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News