Growing up in rural America gave me a unique education. There were things I observed in animal care, agriculture, and outdoor living that “city folks” could pick up only in a limited sense or second-hand from books. And, though I may have hated milking that ornery old Angus cow, she taught me some pretty valuable lessons.
One particular lesson was that as long as there was feed in the bucket, she would stand still so I could milk her. Once the feed was gone, she was less tolerable. She manifested her discontent with dancing hind feet, which resulted in milk-bucket spills that had to be explained. Coming back to the house with a quart of milk from a 2-gallon bag might imply that I was “wind-milling” the milk-bucket. Her most annoying trick was to switch her tail around and hit me in the head, and though I usually had the tip of her tail in the crease of my knee, when her feed ran out, she always managed shake it loose and swat me anyway. You will have to use your imagination concerning what a cow’s tail was like after grazing on green oats; ‘nuff said.
I always figured that the old biddy had just enough personality to hate me for occasionally riding her calf, but in reality, I knew it was nothing personal; she was just bored. I know it is hard to believe that a cow can get bored, but if she has nothing to occupy her attention and someone is yanking on her udders, I guess she can get bored.
Okay, enough on bovine anatomy and cow-milking blues. Here is the point: being busy about the business at hand doesn’t leave room for discontentment. A happy cow makes for an easy milk and a full bucket of feed will produce a full bucket of milk.
The application is really simple. Most of the old soreheads in the church have at least two problems: (1) their spiritual food bucket is empty and (2) they are bored. Whining and bellyaching are not defining characteristics of hardworking spiritually mature Christians. They do not have time for nit-picking, nay-saying, and “no, we tried that before and it didn’t work.” It is usually the biblically malnourished that absent themselves from the church’s work while spewing the most caustic indictments against the way things are going.
Any good rancher will send an ornery old cow to the packing plant; she’s more trouble than she’s worth. And, for those who are bull-headed… well, that’s another article altogether.