Diggin’ a little deeper

by Kevin on March 17, 2010

I watched the old cowboy swing the saddle up onto his horse. By the way he had groaned when he picked it up, I didn’t think he would be able to get it up there. With a motion that had been practiced millions of times, the saddle swung into place at just the right spot. The old cowboy stood there for a second after the exertion, his shoulders heaving and his head down. After about ten deep breathes, the cowboy ambled over to the truck and got his leggings out of the cab.

His legs just wouldn’t bend the way they used to and his balance had seen better days. My old friend used the truck mirror, the trailer hitch, the door handle, and the top of the tire, all as steadying points as he tried to wrangle his legs into the leather. Frustration would appear on his face, only quickly to be replaced by dogged determination. There are two words in which this old cowboy had never allowed in his life: quit and unable.

He turned his horse between him and the rest of us cowboys when he went to get on. The difficulty he would have was a private battle. Every year the stirrups got higher, he got shorter, and his knees bent less. The old cowboy wasn’t quite ready to give in to the five gallon bucket “get-on”. One day it might come to that, but as long as he could–he would.

Once the gatherin’ started, he felt like he could contribute. He moved with his horse in the timeless cowboy dance between horse and rider. Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire never waltzed any better than this old cowboy and his mount. When the cattle were penned and the brands were hot, the old timer swung his noose with precision and accuracy. There was never a bad throw. Sometimes there was a miss, but the last of the calves in the herd have a tendency to stay close to the fence with their mama’s in between them and the brandin’ fire. With patience and perseverance, experience won out over crafty hiding.

I rode further, flanked instead of roped, loaded on foot instead of pushing by horse, and complained about being tired instead of being thankful for one more opportunity. I watched the old cowboy end the day in reverse of the way it had started out. You could see the tiredness in his eyes. His exhaustion reached down into his bones. The pain in his steps after dismounting showed with every wobbly step he took. Cowboys watched out of the corner of their eye’s, ready to step in to help with a saddle or leggings.

When other cowboys loaded their still saddled horses in the trailer and headed for the beer, the old cowboy unsaddled and rubbed his horse down. Only when he knew his horse was watered and cared for did he open his truck door and sit down for the first time. It was too hard to climb in and out, so he just sat there on the step between seat and door. He rested one weary arm on the door and rubbed his knees with the other hand when he thought no one was watching. Finally, he got up and tried his best not to limp when he came over to bid everyone adios. He said he would love to stay and visit, but he had chores at the house that needed doin’ before it got too late.

We were all kind of silent as we watched him go get in his truck. Each of us pictured in our minds the future that awaited us if we made it that long. The toughest of the cowboys was now driving off and all of us had learned a lesson on the meaning of weary. And it had all been accomplished with a smile and without a complaint.

Mark 12:41-44
41 Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. 42 Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. 43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. 44 For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”

This isn’t about giving money. It’s about giving all you have. Most of us are rich in terms of ability and time, but we only give God a small part of our wealth. We spend more time reading things on the internet than we spend reading the Bible. We give our hobbies more of our lives than we do to Jesus. We claim that we are too tired or don’t have time to go to church, yet we spend all of this on ourselves instead of on God. Jesus doesn’t compare your giving to anyone else’s. He compares giving with how much he has given you. What he has given you is his death on the cross and eternal life. I bet with this in mind, we could all dig a little deeper into our life’s pockets.

Given’ to Him, but gettin’ more in return,

Kevin Weatherby, Pastor

Pecos County Cowboy Church
POB 1384
Fort Stockton, Texas 79735


© Kevin Weatherby, 2010

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