Recently, I came across a book published in 2005 by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson called Animals in Transition: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior. The book details how a highly intelligent autistic scientist had learned through the years to track which sounds and environmental objects stimulate fear, anxiety, and stress in livestock. As it turns out, the beef industry was willing to pay a handsome fee for this information. You see, high stress levels in animals release hormones that downgrade the quality of meat.
Because of this research, engineers and scientists created a new technology that has revolutionized the way slaughterhouses operate. In the new system the cows aren’t prodded off the truck, but are led in silence onto a ramp. They go through a “squeeze chute,” a gentle pressure device that mimics a mother’s nuzzling touch. The cattle continue down the ramp onto a smoothly curved path; there are no sudden turns. The cows experience the sensation of going home, the same way they have traveled so many times before.
As they move along the path, they don’t ever notice when their hooves are no longer touching the ground. A conveyor belt slowly lifts them gently upward and then in a split second, a blunt instrument applies a surgical strike right between their eyes. In an instant, they are transitioned from livestock to meat, and they are never aware enough to be alarmed by any of it.
I can’t help but see the many similarities between the livestock in the above illustration and the potential of a slow, calm, and steady digression of my Christian faith. In Psalm 44:22, the author describes those headed towards judgment as lambs being led to the slaughter. As a follower of Christ, the enemy wants to do everything he can to cultivate apathy and complacency in my life. Once he does this, he can then strike at the heart of my testimony causing great moral failure and undermining my credibility before the world as someone in whom Christ has made no difference. Scripture demonstrates that all are capable of even the most heinous things under the right circumstances. However, it’s because of the Gospel that we are enabled to be faithful with the little, small, and seemingly insignificant choices. These choices can either lead to a great life in Christ full of joy and purpose, or a desperate life full of despair and devoid of any real meaning.