Growing up on the Praire, life presents you with perspectives on happenings in a primal sort of way. For sure we have entered the modern age but there are regular reminders of a time that was and continues to be.
On a recent drive from the urban to rural, I happened to notice an old rancher riding fence, counting head and checking for gaps between posts. In case you are wondering what in the world I am talking about, he was basically checking on his herd of cattle. On the surface raising cattle can seem like passive work but like farming, it takes patience and expertise to reach the desired results, the fatted calf!
To cattle, a rancher appears to be the ultimate caregiver and best of friends. He provides a place to play, food to eat, a friendly community of like-minded associates and excellent health care benefits.
The burn of his brand on the cow’s hind end seems to be a faint memory and a small price to pay for such amenities. His kindness comforts the herd as he welcomes new born calves into a deep trusting relationship built on mutual admiration and concern.
Life on the open range is free of worry, hassle and pain. After all, as the song says, it is where the deer and the antelope play. Life is good. What a great place to raise the kids. The rancher loves them too and just like the other cows and bulls on his place, he nurtures and cares for them in preparation for the slaughter!
The disappearances go unnoticed at first. But then it begins to click. At a certain weight and size, cattle start to vanish, never to return. Those who left long ago have one thing in common, they followed the rancher into a narrow metal trailer, for what many believed was a joy ride on an exciting field trip. Little did they know that their so-called loyal friend had lured them into a death trap. They were collateral damage, casualties and victims in a masterful mass murder.
The more cattle reflect on life on the ranch, the more they realize the signs of deception and betrayal were there all along. It was truly too good to be true. The rancher’s cow hide boots, matching leather belt, leather vest, leather gloves and the smell of a juicy cheese burger on his breath, were all indicators that were somehow ignored in an otherwise blissful relationship.
That is life on the Praire. The journey from the thrill to the grill ends with an unexpected surprise, the rancher is not a friend. He is a predator! He is a master manipulator with a master plan to steal, kill and destroy. The cattle’s loss is the rancher’s gain.
Here is the brutal reality. We all have potential to end up as cattle on the devil’s ranch. He is a deceptive, conniving fake. He acts like he cares but in the end, he is after our very souls. He comes to steal, kill and destroy. He pacifies us with toys, vices and creature comforts. It’s all a big fat lie as he does his best to lure us away to the slaughter house.
What is a cow to do? It starts by realizing you aren’t a cow. You are a sheep! You are meant to run in flocks not herds. You are raised for hair cuts not to have your throat cut! Don’t buy the lie. Recognize who you are. You are meant to be led by the Good Shepherd not the ruthless rancher. You are not destined to be lamb chops or prime rib. You were born to thrive and stay alive!
The Good Shepherd’s motives are pure. His friendship is genuine. He is a giver of life. He never seeks to pull the wool over your eyes. He is your protector, caregiver and companion. He loves you dearly and longs to be with you now and forever.
Someday, when life on the Praire is no more, he will take you home with him to greener pastures. He is a good shepherd, not an evil rancher. You are his little lamb, not a fatted calf. And as we like to say on the Praire, ”That’s no bull!”