In 1967 I was the green horn. I had just moved back to Kansas with my wife and 2 boys. Somehow, I landed a job at a feedlot owned by Lawrence Clements in Solomon Kansas.
As long as I live I will never forget that first day on the job and my first task. I was sent up on the hill with an old cowboy and told to Butcher a cow that had bloated and died. This cow looked like a giant balloon with legs. Now let me explain, Mr. Clemens had a kennel full of Greyhound dogs. If any cattle died they were butchered and the meat was added to the dog food. How many of you remember the first time you butchered a cow? If you haven’t had this pleasure please picture yourself doing it for the first time.
You’ve heard me say before that old Cowboys don’t tell you everything they know. They let you learn the hard way through pain and suffering. Now they’re not going to let you get hurt or killed but they’re going to sit back and watch you make mistakes. Yes they could have told you how to do it without the pain, but some of our best lessons were learned from painful experiences.
Now to my job, the old cowboy asked me if I’d ever butcher the cow. He already knew the answer but he wanted to see if I would tell the truth. I fessed up to it and said no sir. He grinned real big and said well I’m going to teach ya.
This is when he handed me a knife. He stuck his finger on the side of this cow and told me to stick the knife in right there. As I stuck the knife in he stepped back about 10 ft. He then told me to stick my right finger in that hole right beside the knife blade. He grinned and then told me with my right finger to pull real hard to the right.
There are some of you who know what happened next and you’re already laughing. That’s because you’ve had the same experience haven’t ya. Somebody made you learn the hard way. Okay back to the painful experience. All of that smelly, stinking, rotten gas that was in that cows belly came out real fast and right out in my face. I don’t think I’ve heard anybody laugh as loud and as hard as that old cowboy did.
The worst thing about that experience was that I couldn’t eat beef for a month. Since that day I have had the pleasure to work with cattle and a lot of old cowboys. I thank God for the opportunity that he’s given me to be a cowboy. I wouldn’t trade a single painful lesson for anything.
Now I’ve got a couple scriptures that fits this story and reminded me that God never promised us a Rose Garden. On the contrary he told us that we would face trials and tribulation and many hardships. Please read Romans 5:3-4. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character and character produces hope. James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you face trials of various kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.