“Am I glad you’re here. That calf went through the fence again. There he is, clear down the road. You are the only one who can get him back here. Go get him, I’ll hold breakfast for you.” Those were common words, often they were one sided. The preacher was off and running again.
The preacher was there when the calf had been born. The mother walked away and the preacher did everything possible to bring that calf to life. Finally after blowing into the lungs of that calf it began to breathe. And now it seemed as if the calf had become a little devil. He was always in some kind of trouble. Today he was by himself. Usually he took at least one other calf with him. Then there were the times when he stole milk before the other calves got to their own mothers. Even when he got kicked away he seemed undeterred. This calf had a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He had a propensity for taking the vagabond calves, other calves whose mothers had rejected them, and then run wild with them. Sometimes he even stampeded the whole herd of calves and they ran everywhere making such a mess in the pen. The deacon’s wife said she was going to be happy when that one went to auction.
Another day came and the preacher showed up to start to work on the ranch. The deacon’s wife looked out the window and said “Oh no, Pirate is out on the road.” Jasper had taught Pirate the ways of the street. She knew she could get this one. She told the preacher to sit and have his breakfast. Then almost as quickly she stopped and said, “No, it’s Jasper again. There he is clear down the road.” If Pirate was there it wouldn’t be long and others would follow. The preacher jumped up and ran through the pasture. At the sight of the preacher Jasper took off. The preacher ran down through the ravine and over the hill. He knew Jasper liked to stay on the road. Sure enough, there he was, now facing the preacher almost eye to eye. The stare down continued for what seemed to be an eternity. Just as the preacher took a step toward Jasper, Pirate came up from behind. Pirate nudged Jasper as if to say, lets go. Jasper bellered softly. He turned and began to walk back. Both he and Pirate went to the exact same spot they had broken through the fence.
When they got back to the coral the deacon’s wife said “I kept breakfast warm for you. It is inside the oven.” Then she said, “It sure is funny how that calf responds to you.” Just like some people, the preacher shows up and they settle right down. Turn your back and off they go. It sure is funny how animals and people don’t seem to be too much different in life.
The preacher began to ponder these words. He somehow wondered if the role of the preacher was part of the problem. What if, just as he had breathed life into the calf, he was also creating a backlash of other people’s behavior? He remembered when the principal in the nearby school warned the students that there was a hippy preacher who had moved in and they should be careful. He remembered when the neighboring pastor had said we are going to close that church of yours and you can’t do any thing about it. They will join us and we will make a big church. He remembered when his car had broken down and he stopped at a nearby ranch house to ask for help. When he said he was the pastor over at the church the people slammed the door in his face. The young preacher pondered his position and his calling. What is it God is asking? What is it God calling us too? If we make a difference will it be good, will it honor the Lord’s work?