Cattle duffing goes back a long way in Australia. Many a herd was built up by poddy dodging and brand changing. With properties unfenced, cattle from adjoining stations mixed up freely, wandering wherever there was feed. Riders from each station yarded, sorted, branded and bang tailed cattle on the combined musters. It didn’t bother some people’s conscience to brand their neighbour’s cleanskins in between musters. Many farmers who stole cattle to build their herds went on to become respected community members.
Harry Redman, dubbed ‘Captain Starlight’ became a legend after he stole around 1,000 head in the 1870’s. He escaped conviction because the sympathetic jury admired his droving feats. Despite his checkered past, Redman founded and managed Brunette Downs in the Northern Territory. To this day cattle duffing goes on, and it is still very difficult to get a conviction for stock stealing. To this day, it is never too late to turn over a new leaf.
In Matthew 20:1-16, Jesus talks about a generous employer who hired workers for his vineyard, first at 6am, again at 9am, noon, 3pm, then again at 5pm. Those late starting workers might wonder what was the point of starting work in the paddock at 5pm. Daylight was almost done. The wonder is that they did one hour’s work and were paid the same as those who worked 12 hours. Those who’d worked in the blazing sun all day didn’t think it was fair, but nobody was cheated or underpaid. Just some were paid more than what others thought they deserved. God’s love isn’t about ‘so much pay for so much work’. His grace can’t be calculated like a day’s wages. The last to enter God’s Kingdom, even after a lifetime of wrongdoing, will have all their sins forgiven and equal rights to every promise of God. Scandalous maths!
Stop looking back thinking about what you have wasted. It’s never too late to start living right. Don’t throw the game. Make it count from now. Someone once said, “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now”.
Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5
Have mercy on me God. Clean me up from all my sins. Don’t let me follow evil ways, but lead me in the way that time has proven to be true. In Jesus’ name, Amen.