Have you heard the story of the poor family that pushed their cow down the cliff? I bet you have. I do not know the source unfortunately, but I know a few cows that I need to push down the cliff.
Once a monk set on a journey with his assistant to a very remote place. When it turned dark, the monk asked his assistant to look for a place they could lodge at. After hours of searching, he came to a tiny little hut, where a very poor family lived. Though poor, the family was very welcoming and they agreed to accommodate them for the night.
The poor family served them with a meal from fresh milk, cheese and cream before they could retire to bed. When they were done eating the monk asked the family how they managed to survive in such a remote place, away from shopping centre.
In a resigned tone of voice the man of the house told them how they managed to survive. ‘We have one cow. We sell her milk to our neighbors who do not live too far away. We hold back enough for our needs and to make some cheese and cream-that is what we eat.”
The next morning, as they were living, the monk told his assistant, “Go back and push the cow off the cliff!” In disbelief, the assistant answered “But this cow is their livelihood, if it dies, they also die…” The monk repeated his order, “I said go and push the cow down the cliff.” Since the assistant had vowed unquestioning obedience to his master, he went and pushed the cow down the cliff and it died.
Fast forward… Years later, the assistant was now a monk, and he was passing by the same place, but it had changed completely. There was a mansion there, beautifully mowed lawns… a luxurious resident. He was sure this was the place they spent with is master, so he decided to knock and ask for directions. “Whatever became of the family who used to live here? Did they sell the property to you?” He enquired. The man looked surprised and said he and his family had always lived on the property. The Monk told him how he had stayed in a hut on the same spot, with his master the old Monk. ‘What happened to the family that lived here?” he asked.
The man invited the Monk to stay with him as his guest. While they ate, the host explained how the family’s fortune changed. “You know Father, we used to have a cow. She kept us alive. We didn’t own anything else. One day she fell down the cliff and died. To survive, we started planting herbs and vegetables to supply our food. The plants took a while to grow, and so I started cutting down trees to sell the wood. Then, of course, I had to buy seedlings to replace the trees. When I was buying the seedlings, I thought about my children’s clothes, and it occurred to me that I could perhaps try growing my own cotton. I had a difficult first year, but by the time harvest came around, I was already selling vegetables, cotton and aromatic herbs. I had never realised how much potential the farm had. It was a bit of luck really that cow dying! We had to start doing other things, develop skills we did not even know we had. We were forced to come up with new ways of doing things. We ploughed the land and grew crops, we sold tree seedlings… It was the best thing that ever happened to us! We are now much better off than before.”
Do you have a cow you need to push down the cliff? I do. Many cows. Reliance on things that hold you back? Have you grown comfortable? Not successful, but comfortable? – Push that cow down the cliff. Or maybe someone needs to push your cow down the cliff.
Jesus pushed the disciples cow down their cliffs of comfort. They had grown comfortable with His presence. He told them severally that he was going to be crucified, but they could take none of that. They were ready to install him as their King. They saw in Jesus a political King that would set them free from Roman tyranny. Their cow of misguided hopes was pushed down the cliff that Friday when Christ hung on the cross, seemingly helpless between two thieves. They went back fishing, discouraged… but thank God for the resurrection morning. Christ appeared to explain why it was better that the cow be pushed down the cliff:
And he said unto them, Why are you troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? (Luke 24:38). Christ had risen, but he wasn’t going to be with them for long, but He had some assignment for them to do. Yes, they had left their nets in following Christ, but He was calling them to higher ground.
And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20).
The disciples hopes were resurrected. They now knew Christ and his misssion better. The gospel to all the world? The disciples now woke up to their true calling. They left their comfort zones… You just need to read the book of Acts in the bible, and search for ‘boldness’ or ‘bold’ or ‘boldly’. They pushed their cow down the cliff, and God rewarded their diligence and entire surrender.
God has promised us #AllPower, but are we willing to push our cows down the cliff?