Over the course of his career, a dairyman trains hundreds of calves to nurse from a bottle. He won’t specifically remember the actions of very many, but there are a few that come to mind every once in a while.
I had one calf that had difficulty trusting me. Most newborns will accept the dairyman as their trusted source of nutrition after only a couple of feedings. But even after a week of twice-a-day feedings, this calf went into full alert mode each time I entered the gate to her pen.
When I entered the shed in which she was housed, the calf would run to the far end. She then would turn and run past me to the gate through which I entered. She acted confused and scared until she reached the corner in which I was able to catch her the first couple of times. At that point, she would begin licking her lips and walking directly to me, searching for the bottle I was offering.
All of us get confused and scared out in this big old world. But when we go back to the place where we were loved, fed, and nurtured, we remember and recognize that these are the folks who really care about us; and we regain that trust that so many have stolen from us.
“11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. 17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants,’Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” (Luke 15:11-24) ESV
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