Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lessons from the Tractor: Cattle Egrets

This year, as has become an annual tradition, I've helped my dad bale hay. I run the tractor some to do the cutting and when it's time to bale, I either run the rake or the baler. When you're in a 50 acre field going back and forth, there's a lot to think about--whether the hay is packing into the baler right, wondering if the baler will have another error, avoiding holes, staying right on top of the row of hay you are baling...you get the idea. One thing that tends to happen when you bale hay is that cattle egrets will come eat the grasshoppers and other small bugs out of the recently cut hay field. As the machines pick up the cut grass, they will camp out at the all you can eat buffet. But this year I noticed something different. While the tractor and implements would easily kill one of these birds, they don't seem to be bothered by them. They get just close enough to the tractor to not get hurt. After all, right by the tractor is where the best eating is found. As I pondered this strange phenomenon, my thoughts began to turn to God.

Isn't this how we all are with sin? We like to get just close enough to sin to where it won't hurt us or the ones we love? Just like those birds landed right by the tractor and quickly hopped away as it got too close, we like to get close to the things that will damage and harm us and our families because they are tempting. And when that big ol' tractor comes, we just hop out of the way. I like what James has to say about this idea in chapter 1.

"13When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
16Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. 17Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created."

If God has given us all we need, why do we feel the need to get so close to the things that will harm us?