Many years ago when I worked on a dairy farm, calves were taken away from their mothers at birth. The reason for this was so that the milk produced by the cows could be sold. The calves would be fed from a bucket with a small amount of their mother’s milk for a few days then introduced to powdered milk.
The first milk from a cow after giving birth is called colostrum. It is a very valuable source of food for the new born calf. It is rich in protein and antibodies which gives the calf good protection against disease etc. The sooner it gets a good feed of this colostrum the better chance of survival it will have. Within two hours if possible but definitely before six or eight because the calf’s ability to absorb the nutrients from the colostrum diminishes as time goes on.
The calf is kept, in a small area called a pen. It`s big enough for it to turn around in and jump about a bit but not excessively. It is quite restricted, and lies on a bed of straw.
After about five weeks of being housed in this area it is time to move the calf on into a larger pen with much more space and in with other calves of similar size.
When the gate is opened for the calf to come out you would think it would literally jump at the chance to get out of this small space. But no! It has got so used to its surroundings that it is afraid to venture out. A helping hand is needed.
Getting in behind it and sometimes with a lot of push the calf is finally out of its pen. The resistance it puts up can be so great that it will stumble and fall in a heap on the floor.
It’s been so used to a bed of straw to stand on that it finds it so difficult to stand on a hard surface. Some calves need to be pushed the whole way to get them to the new area.
Once in this new area with all the extra space and a lovely bed of straw, all the trauma of the flitting is forgotten as the calf goes for a race around the pen. Kicking its heels in the air, and sometimes diving into the straw, is a sight worth seeing.
There are a number of points of similarity when helping people.
Some people have been in the same restricted area for so long that the thought of a move to a better place cannot be imagined.
The young calf in its first pen has no knowledge of a better place. It can`t conger up in its mind anything other than where it is.
Likewise a person who has become trapped in a restricted life style may not be able to imagine anything different.
A push or a shove might be needed. Sometimes a calf is carried the whole way to its new area.
Teen Challenge bus work is a good example of helping people out of one lifestyle into a much better one.
Push, shove or carried, whatever it takes, when a person reaches the new environment of Rehab, where new clean bedding, good food and new friends are experienced, the joy can exceed that of the calf in its new pen.
Come unto Me and I will give you rest, Jesus said. Matthew 11v28