Here is the story of a veterinarian leaving his warm home on a difficult road trip to struggle with a dairy farmer who is having trouble. The farmer’s surface problem is his under-producing cows, however there are deeper issues related to the pressures and growing pains of inheriting a farm. Various forms of frustration and loneliness are making cracks in their lives, forcing them to sort through the pieces in one exhausting night.

Listen/Download State of the Art Veterinarian

wisconsin_icy_road

The lyrics were adapted from a letter written by my father, John Roberts, a veterinarian and problem solver for farms and farmers. While his letter that inspired the song wasn’t from the Bible, there was something about the experience Dad was describing and the concepts he was wrestling with that reminded me of major Biblical concepts. With that in mind I started exploring and found a wealth of inspiration when connecting the story to sections of Scripture.

The strongest connection to the song is the second half of Ecclesiastes 3 where we hear a rant on the frustrations of work that parallels the struggle of our veterinarian and farmer.

Ecclesiastes 3:9-22
9 What does the worker gain from his toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on men. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

15 Whatever is has already been,
and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past to account.

16 And I saw something else under the sun:
In the place of judgment—wickedness was there,
in the place of justice—wickedness was there.

17 I thought in my heart,
“God will bring to judgment
both the righteous and the wicked,
for there will be a time for every activity,
a time for every deed.”

18 I also thought, “As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. 19 Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”

22 So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?

Audrey

Most of the Bible talks about the joy of living and working for God (for example Matthew 7:16, Matthew 13:23, Titus 2:13, and James 1:25), but in Ecclesiastes (and earlier in Genesis 3) we hear of the pain and struggle that work can bring apart from God.

While Ecclesiastes 3 is the focus of the post, the story of the veterinarian and the farmer parallels many other Biblical concepts including…

 

-The challenges of living a simple life. 1 Peter 1, 1 Peter 4:12-16, Psalm 73

-It takes wisdom to live by faith. Hebrews 11

-Foolish things can shame the wise. 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16

-What we have inherited from time and others can put a world of weight on our shoulders.
Romans 8:18-39, 1 Peter 2:4-10, 2 Corinthians 5:16-18, Galatians 3:26-29, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

State of the Art Veterinarian (Lyrics)

Nancy is this morning heading south while I am heading north by the same road
It’s winter. Better not leave the wood stove all alone.
It’s bizarre how complex it is to be simple.

Science prevails in the world where we commune in that language.
Convinced users, addicted to proof, while the scientist rests easy in the questions
I came fully braced to the schedule reaming, report in hand
Hoping that the world of my tools would be enough to convince.

The farmer chose me, the state of the art veterinarian,
Thinking I’m more virtuous, more useful, and maybe just a little more believable.
So for three long hours he hammered at me, and if it weren’t for the dignity,
Of a human being I could find no reason to be so far away on a
Bitter cold night, letting him punch away at me a half-empty bag so late and dark,
In a tiny room, so insignificant.

Your cows do not lie down. That’s it. Your cows do not lie.
They’ll tell you it’s the stalls. They’ll tell you I’m a joke.
The question is irrelevant. Let me work or let me go,

I work the needles
And you hold them.

But you will make it, the state of the art veterinarian says your other world will serve you well.
You’re exceptional way beyond most of us.
Though the blurring passage of time can sharpen the edge of a fundamental difference
The energy of legacy will leave this realm eventually
And I know top-of-the-world inhertence is hard, but the son will come and you,
You will go far

I set out in the morning to resolve and now I am heading home by the same road.
It’s winter. Better not leave the wood stove all alone.

For a full story of the dance between the farmer and the veterinarian enjoy this version of the song:

Listen/Download State of the Art Veterinarian (ballad)

BC ELEMENTS (What’s This?)

Bb Plucks
Bonker Beat
Melodica Tune

Special thanks to Pastors Dan Olson, Tim Bourman, Matt Doebler for their help with the passages.

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