Set an example for other followers by what you say and do, as well as by your love, faith, and purity. –1 Timothy 4:12 (CEV)
A news story from the state of Texas caught my attention. Apparently, a cattle carrier traveling on an interstate highway experienced trouble when the back of the trailer came open. For lack of a better way to put it, cows flew out. Of course, cows can’t fly, which in this instance, is not good news for the cows involved.
Neither was it good news for the traffic following the cattle carrier. The flying cows led to a chain reaction of negative events. Several cars hit some of the cows. Police scrambled to the scene. While working to control the accident scene, another truck approached on the interstate. It sped by, nearly hitting a police officer. Two police vehicles immediately began pursuit of the speeding truck. The truck quickly pulled off to the side of the interstate and two men jumped out and began running. The police vehicles also pulled over, the officers got out of their vehicles, and began pursuing the suspects on foot. Eventually, the suspects were caught. Unfortunately, the officers had stopped their vehicles in tall grass, which ignited a fire, engulfing their squad cars in flames and completely destroying them.
When cows fly, bad things happen. When cows fly, unintended consequences are set into motion. There are times when I look back on my day and I feel like I’ve sent cows flying. Of course, I’ve never actually flung a cow, but in my words and actions, I’ve unleashed all kinds of unintended consequences.
Here’s one simple example. In a weak moment, I said unkind words about someone else in the presence of others and that, in turn, encouraged them to do the same. My slip of tongue simply revealed the frustration of the moment, not any long-standing issues. But, the unkind words somehow made their way back to the person they were spoken about. Talk about unintended consequences. Soon, it was raining cows! Relationships were damaged and work had to be done to restore them.
The Scriptures tell us that we have a responsibility to keep a close watch over our lives regarding how we think, speak, and act. Today’s story is a simple cautionary tale. When cows fly, unintended consequences result and bad things happen. Today, let’s do our best, with God’s help, to keep the cows where they belong.
1. Think of a recent example when your thoughts, words, or actions have unleashed negative unintended consequences.
2.What steps can you take to prevent similar unintended consequences from happening in the future?
Matthew 12:35-37; 1 Corinthians 8:9-13