The Cow That Made Me Eat Dirt

980xSeveral years ago, my friend Tim and I worked at our neighbor’s farm. In the evening, it was our job to drive the cattle to the barn and feed them.

One evening as I arrived at the farm, Tim greeted me excitedly, “You should have been here yesterday!” He said. “‘Georgie Girl’ chased me, and I had to hide behind that big telephone pole over there!”

I laughed. Tim had only recently started working at the farm, and he just wasn’t the farmer I was.

I had known Georgie Girl since she was a young heifer and had named her after the 1960’s pop song. She just had her first calf. So, of course, she was a little protective. But there was no way she would charge at a person; I assured Tim.

“I’m not going out to get her,” he said. “She can just stay in the field!”

Shaking my head, I motioned for Tim to follow me. It was time to teach this boy something about farming.

The cattle were grazing in a field called the Orchard. Georgie Girl stood peacefully by the fence with her calf at her side.

I decided to take advantage of Tim’s hesitation and show him how brave I was – not that I was in any danger. After all, Georgie Girl would never chase me.

Tim stood on the other side of the fence and repeated his warning as I entered the orchard. I picked up a twig about 6 inches long and waved it – mocking Tim. “You better watch her!” Tim warned again.

Now I was really enjoying myself. I began to sing “Hey there, Georgie Girl” and danced toward her.

The next thing I remember was the slow return to my senses – the smell of grass in my nostrils…the taste of dirt in my mouth…the sight of that little stick still in my hand…and the sound of Georgie Girl snorting in the orchard where I had been before she launched me over the fence.

A vindicated Tim was roaring with laughter. His repeated warnings had gone unheeded, and I not only suffered humiliation and a bruised ego, but I also ate dirt!

Georgie Girl did her part to teach me a lesson, but I’m not sure I learned much. I’m still getting knocked over the fences of life when I don’t heed God’s warnings about how to live this one life by faith. (Though you may not have eaten dirt, can you relate?)

God’s prohibitions and expectations can often seem too confining and impractical in this flesh-and-blood world. Yet, ignoring them brings painful and regrettable consequences – some of them a lot more serious than being head-butted over a fence.

For me, when that happens, I remember the taste of dirt in the pasture that day and refocus on living the way He wants me to live.

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