Being Lead Pastors at a Cowboy Church is much more than just church to my husband and I , it is also our life style. Randy is the rodeo cowboy, and I am the rancher. Together, we make a pretty good team, at church and at the ranch.
Our remarkably intelligent son-in-law and gorgeous yet talented daughter (yes, gorgeous and talented did edit and add to this post) run the main ranch 100 miles from us, but we have a portion of the herd at our home. We have what is left of our registered first calf heifers, which is only six, but they are enough for Randy and I to deal with at the moment. We also have older cows who are having spring calves.
This week has been a total “birthing babies” focus for Randy and I. Every day brings its own challenges. Every night we fall into bed exhausted and sore. First time mamas either instinctively know what to do, or they are dumber than a box of rocks. The second is the kind of cow who needs extra attention. A lot of extra attention!
Our church is in birthing mode too. The office is in total disarray with preparations for new hires. Painting, buying new furniture, offices swapping is in full swing. I slide into the office every day to give whatever necessary instructions for moving that day, then Randy’s admin, Linda, oversees it. I might add, she is doing a great job! I stay as long as I can for my appointments, then race back home to tend to whichever new momma cow is having a problem.
Honestly, we have never had so many issues with calving. Even the older cows are having problems. I’m thinking the devil is stirring the pot just to get me overwhelmed. Whew! It’s working too.
Back to the baby business. There is a point in giving birth that all moms are aware of. It’s when it’s time to get down to business. It’s the hard labor part called transition. Transition is excruciating. But, it is also necessary in the birthing process. Once the baby is born, all the labor turns to joy, because a new babe needs full attention from its mother, right? Lone Star is in “transition” and about to give birth. Just like a new Mama, we are adjusting with patience and care as we tend to new life and growth in the people who attend the church.
But yesterday, Randy discovered something new. A calf didn’t get up soon enough to nurse after being born. The mama cow was great, she just didn’t know how to get her baby motivated to stand up for the first time. An older cow will use their noses to push the calf around until it gets up. Getting the baby to nurse is critical within the first few hours. If it doesn’t get up quickly enough and nurse it will “forget” how to suck, AND with no colostrum in its stomach, there is a host of problems that all end in death for the calf.
The goal for us was to get the calf to stand AND up to the waiting mother who was standing for us like a pet, which she is definitely not. Because this calf was too big for me to carry, I wore out fast and finally fell with the calf, trying to keep it on its feet, and landed in blackberry vines. Randy stepped up and took over. Slow, easy, patience and care are not in Randy’s vocabulary when there is roping happening at the church arena and he’s stuck helping me with baby calves. An hour and a half later, we had success, and the calf finally was willing to have its first meal.
As we walked into the barn I asked him, “Do you remember when we got married and I told you a ranch cowboy and a rodeo cowboy are two different things, and you kept getting mad at me for it?” Sheepishly he said yes. “Do you believe me now?” I’ll shorten his answer to yes.
Just like there are different types of cowboys, being a Christian and being a Christ Follower may look the same to some, but is two different things completely. A Christ follower will study the Bible every day, not just read it. A Christ follower will research through any means necessary until they understand the context, original wording and meaning of a verse, and not just settle for the translation they are reading. A Christ follower will meditate on a verse all day long until it is a part of their life and they live it. A Christ follower will change and grow daily as they follow Christ.
The title Christian is too flippantly used these days, in my opinion. Anyone who either shows up or is active in church believes they are truly following Christ. Serving is great, and a part of following Christ. But to follow Him, you must KNOW Him. To be a Christ-ian means being like Christ. Even as a new-born calf needs encouragement, someone has to motivate new believers to stand up and drink from the Word of God, or they will die with a host of problems due to lack of proper spiritual nutrition. To never grow as a Christian means to grow older physically, but never spiritually. Who in the world wants to see a cow nursing from another grown cow? That is just gross and a waste. This is why we don’t have Angus cattle (gorgeous and talented struck again with the Angus cattle comment).
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Hebrews 5:12 (NKJV)