How to keep going in the right direction. Follow the Point Rider.

by Kevin on May 30, 2010

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Have you ever been sure you were going in the right direction, only to look up and see you are no where even close to the place you wanted to go? Saddle up with me as we take a look at how easily it is to get going in the wrong direction, but how we can get back to where we need to be by following the cowboy riding point.

We had made the long cattle drive with very few problems. The cattle stayed together and moved in unison down the fence line. I was riding drag that day and found myself urging the older cows forward. “Get on up there mama,” I said to them as I eased in behind the ones that were tired from all their walking. There were a few little babies mixed in towards the back of the herd. You could tell that they were tuckered out and ready for a break.

My job was to keep them moving forward. Back and forth I rode. Constantly encouraging them to keep going. Most of the time, just riding up behind them would put a little pep in their step. For others, a little more forceful encouragement was necessary.

Other cowboys were spread out along the side of the herd. Their job was to keep the cattle from going in the wrong direction. I kept them going and the cowboys riding swing, kept them going straight. Their job is pretty tough. I only had cattle in front of me. The guys riding on the side had cattle walking in front and behind. They constantly had to speed up if a cow looked like she was going to try to make a run for it, but they also had to watch and make sure nothing snuck out behind them.

As we got close to the pen, the cattle started getting restless. What inevitably happens on a longer drive is that the slower cattle move to the back and the young, high spirited calves move up to the front. These youngsters have an aversion to being put in a pen. They will start walking faster and faster, all the while looking for a breach in the “net” around them.

“Watch ’em boys!!” someone called out. The big calves had started to pull away from the rest of the herd. The cowboy flanking up front had to speed up to keep them from running off. This put added distance between him and the cowboy behind him, creating an inviting space for some wild mama to try to sneak through.

The end result was chaos. The cattle were too many and the cowboys were too few. The cattle spread us out way too far and then just spilled out of the net like water through your hands.

Was it anyone’s fault? No.

But we were missing a key cowboy that day. Someone who’s job it is to keep the herd going in the right direction and to keep them from running off. One more cowboy that day would have made the difference. We needed that cowboy riding point.

The cowboy riding point controls the brake. The cowboy riding drag has the gas pedal. The point man can’t make the back cattle go any faster, but the drag can’t make the front ones slow down.

Jesus is our point rider

John 10:27 – My cattle hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (SCVSimplified Cowboy Version)

There are three aspects that are needed to get the herd where it needs to go.

  1. The Cowboy riding point – This is Jesus. We must always follow his lead. Doing otherwise will cause us to run off in the wrong direction. When we take our eyes off of the point rider, we lose our direction. Often times, this is a struggle with new Christians. They are like the young calves. They are full of energy and want to get to God as fast as they can. They get so exuberant, they think they know where they are supposed to go and just run off and leave Jesus who was guiding them in the right direction.
  2. The Cowboy riding the edges – This is the Holy Spirit. This cowboy keeps us from straying to the left or right. We must constantly listen to the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we get mad because the direction we want to go seems blocked. This is an indication that the Holy Spirit is trying to keep us from goin’ the wrong way.
  3. The Cowboy riding drag – These riders are the ones that God has called to be leaders in the church. Sometimes these people get confused and try to push and lead at the same time. But their job is to keep the herd moving in the direction that Jesus has given. It’s a tough job to balance loving encouragement for forward progress and the need to sometimes deliver a kick in the butt after all other attempts have failed.

If we want to get where God wants us to go, we must follow the Point Rider. He alone knows the way to that narrow gate. Often times, we are willing to follow as long as there is lush grass and easy walking. But many times, we have to go down in the valleys. Just like David said, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for my Point Rider is with me.”

Too many times, we see the valley or canyon approaching and try to abandon ship. The Holy Spirit will try to keep us going and encourage us, but we still throw our heads and tails in the air and take off. When we do, we find ourselves lost and desiring to get back in line with Jesus.

Ask yourself some tough questions.

  • Are you going in the direction God wants you to?
  • Do you tend to run off when things get a little tough?
  • Do you think you can find the way by yourself?

If you would like to know how to find the Cowboy ridin’ point, you can start by clicking here.

Here are some other things that will help you find the Way.

How you are in the pasture is more important than how you are in the church.

How to “steer” your life in the right direction.

A simple explanation of Christianity.

Would you take the time to share this with someone you know?

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