Amos the Steer

I want to tell you about my steer Amos. One year when I was in high school, we selected a good looking black Angus steer from our herd for me to show at the Polk County Fair. But there was one little problem: I waited too long to teach him how to lead.

A few weeks before the fair, my old pal Tony and I got this great idea. We would tie Amos’ lead rope to the trailer hitch on the back of our old International pickup and pull him around until he was broke to lead.

Well, I broke him all right.

Do you have a bad feeling about where this is going? Yes, this is not going to be pretty. I’ll warn you now that it will be a little graphic.

I drove the pickup into the corral and started pulling Amos around like sack of rocks. He was not getting the lesson. I would drive forward, and the tension would build up in the rope, and Amos would lurch forward a few steps.

Then it happened. I pulled the pickup forward one last time, and Amos planted his cloven feet. The tension built up and built up until pow! Amos flew through the air. And when he came down, his left front leg was broken, right at the joint.

I went back and stared at that leg. I stared and stared in unbelief at the fresh, white bone, as if by staring it would go away. I had a momentary delusion that it could be fixed, but it could not. In minutes we came to the conclusion that there was only one thing that could be done.

Tony and I hitched up the rattly stock trailer to the International, drove Amos about 17 miles down to the custom slaughter house and dropped him off.

Amos fulfilled the measure of creation, yes, but way too soon. There would be no steer to show at the county fair that summer.

You do these things when you are young, and then you get to think about them for a lifetime. And think and think and think. If I can share with you what I’ve learned so far from this experience, it would be this: You can’t hurry anything worthwhile. It takes time and thought and planning to get important things right. Slow down, be patient, think things through, and take your time.

You can’t hurry love. You can’t hurry relationships. You can’t hurry raising your children. You can’t hurry learning the gospel or learning to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. You can’t hurry life’s lessons.

Well, you can try to hurry these things, but the results will be less than satisfying. Sometimes they will be unforgettably tragic.

If it’s important, take your time. Plan. Start early. Get it right. Keep your standards high and don’t compromise. Be patient. Wait in hope.

I am sorry Amos, but I thank you for the lessons you taught me.

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