… and it wasn’t the first time this has happened.
BJP Marts’ Carmarthen livestock ring was a scary place last Thursday.
Well it was if you were a three year old steer that only just came off the hill it was born on and had first met a lorry that morning.
Spoiling for a fight …
And after a couple of hours’ mooing with your mates and a lot of other dodgey-looking bovines in a loud, metal filled, clangy building, and loud drovers with big sticks and noise like you’ve never heard before …
You see it’s scary and it’s threatening and its all unaccustomed, and you might really be spoiling for a fight.
Don’t mess with me!
In truth, my steer burst into the ring with some panache … five hundred kilos of ‘don’t mess with me, I’ve had a bad day and I’m feisty’.
It was bright.
It was noisy.
And a man with a stick kept pushing him around and a man he’d not met shouted fast in a microphone … and then hit some wood with a hammer as another gate swung back with a clang.
With horns like a hat rack and high stepping hooves, he sold for a fair bit more than I’d hoped for.
But he couldn’t get the hang of
leaving the ring.
The drovers got stressed, shouted and waved their sticks.
They had an audience … it was getting embarassing!
And few hundred farmers bristled with anticipation of the entertainment that was surely to come.
Up went the steer, now pumped with adrenalin as they hit him with sticks and he shot around the ring.
His horns struck out left upwards, his feet hitched up and kicked outwards and the drovers all dived from the ring.
Every eye in the place fixed itself on the excitement … and I sensed it was time for some cabaret.
The small steer looked quite fearsome, but he was really just frightened … and although he was sold I felt responsible.
So I jumped from the podium and stepped into the Ring, taking a stick from a drover as I passed … ‘watch him … be careful’ he said.
(Hey, this was great … the best laugh of the day!
The Rev’s beast had kicked up in the Ring, and now the Rev had jumped in there like a Matador to fight the young bullock … oh yes! This was going to be good!)
But the Rev walked up to the bad lad and met his glazed eye, jerked his thumb and said ‘Out!’
… and just pointed.
The steer lifted his horns, and then picked up his heels and he trotted straight out of the ring
… to the roar of loud laughter and most generous applause.
What’s my point?
The drovers are good men. They’re experienced with cattle, and there was nothing at all wrong with what they were doing.
But that steer knew my face and that steer knew my voice, and he trusted me because I had fed him.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” said Jesus, and the same could be said of my steer.
Now according to the ONS Integrated Household Survey, 69 per cent of people in Britain said they were Christian, but when they hear the Lord’s voice they still kick and they gore … and when he speaks up they don’t leave the ring.
My sheep hear my voice
Here’s what makes you one of His … you listen to His voice, He knows you (so you trust Him) and you follow Him by walking in His ways.
So THAT’s trust.
And THAT’s faith.
Best not assume it’s all OK if you’ve got anything less?