The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Pastor Jim Nichols
Sidney Seventh-Day Adventist Church 

Close the gate behind you


The school year was coming to an end and Margie and Tommy, best friends with Cindy and Denny, thought it would be a great idea to invite them to go with them to Grandpa and Grandma’s farm for the summer. After a long drive and a good night’s sleep, they all woke up to the farm sounds of the roosters crowing, cows mooing, and the great smell of breakfast. Everybody gathered around the table as Grandpa had a little devotional and prayer before breakfast.

Following breakfast, Grandpa got everybody together for a little farm meeting, to go over some of the rules and chores, as well as, the fun things to do around the farm. There was one main rule that was very important to Grandpa, “Always remember to make sure that you close the gate behind you!” After the chores were all done, they were off to investigate the farm and have some fun.

Of course, Margie and Cindy stuck together doing what girls like to do, and Tommy and Denny stuck together doing what boys like to do. Well, Tommy and Denny were sitting on the corral fence looking at the big cows and their calves, when Tommy got the notion to ride one of the calves. It was all new to Denny, having never been on a farm, but they got off the fence, opened the gate and tried to catch one of the calves. Finally they caught one and Denny held the calf tight as he could, while Tommy got his arms around its neck. As Denny let go, you should have seen and heard all the commotion. Tommy was holding on for his life, a hoopin’ and a hollorin’, while Denny screamed with excitement.

Margie and Cindy and even Grandpa and Grandma came running to the pasture to see what was going on. Then, it happened! The calf took off like a bolt of lightening, running as fast as it could, with Tommy holding on like a flag flying in the wind. Margie suddenly realized why the calf was running so fast and straight. Seeing the open gate and the dust cloud in the distance of an on-coming truck, she screamed, “Tommy, Tommy, let go, let go!” Tommy let go just before the gate and tumbled in the dirt. But the little calf streaked through the open gate and met up with the truck sliding in the sand. There was a big thud!

They all gathered around the little calf, seeing it suffering, breathing hard and bleeding. Margie, Cindy, Denny, and especially Tommy felt so bad for the little calf. “Isn’t there anything we can do Grandpa?” Tommy asked in desperation. “It’s my fault that he’s hurtin’ … I left the gate open, Grandpa. I’m so sorry.” Grandpa said to Tommy, “I know you are feeling bad, but there is nothing we can do now for the calf.” So, Grandpa told the kids and Grandma to go back to the house, and that he needed to take care of things.

Well, the day came to an end, with all the kids in bed asleep, except Tommy. He just couldn’t sleep and overheard Grandpa downstairs talking to the owner of the calf, making things right by paying Mr. Jackson for the calf. When Mr. Jackson left and Grandpa was coming up to bed, Tommy jumped out of bed to meet him at the top of the stairs. Tommy said, “I heard you talking to Mr. Jackson and I’ll work the rest of the summer and save up some money to help pay for the calf.” Grandpa explained why he had to pay the price himself, and said, “Just remember … Always close the gate behind you!”

Like a modern-day parable, this little story is of great spiritual significance. Who was the calf in the story? Why yes, it could represent Jesus, for the Bible says, “Jesus also suffered outside the gate to make the people holy through His own blood.” (Heb. 13:12) Could it represent me? Oh yes it could, for we have the tendency to look for that open gate and do what we want to do. Don’t we? “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.” (Isaiah 53:6) Last question, Who is Grandpa in the story? Yes, Grandpa could be God the Father, who so loved us that he gave us His only son, paying the penalty and the price for our leaving the gate of sin open. Knowing that we couldn’t pay, He paid it all for every one of us.

As we go from 2014 into the year 2015, why not go to God and let Him close the gate of 2014, with all our mistakes and past sins, forgiving and forgetting our wayward ways through the cross experience of Jesus? Jesus used a doorway to express his saving ministry saying, “I am the door: by me, if any man enters in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9) Let’s open the door of the new year with Jesus, and let Him give us a fresh start and a new hope for 2015?

Pastor Jim Nichols

Sidney Seventh-day Adventist Church


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