How to keep your mouth shut until the time is right.

by Kevin on April 29, 2010

We all tried desperately to stay in the shade as we tried to relax after working cattle all day. Not much was being said outside of small talk about the way the day had went. Everyone was plum tuckered out until a cowboy said something that set the guy we were working for scramblin’ up the side of his soap box.

What transpired over the next ten minutes was a speech for the ages. It ranked right up there with the Gettysburg Address and the “I have a dream” speech.

The cowboy asked the boss if we had missed any of the cows. The boss said that he had seen two or three pretty big bull calves over in the neighbor’s pasture. The cowboy said that he could take a few guys with him and they could go find them and rope ’em. The boss turned red faced as he climbed up on the soap box and began his epic oratory.

Let me tell you something young ‘un. All you ever want to do is go rope something. You don’t have any cattle of your own. You don’t have to worry about breakin’ a leg pullin’ one in the trailer. You don’t have to think about sellin’ something by the pound. Have you ever even considered the stress it places on an animal when it’s chased for half a mile? (The cowboy mumbles,’not really.’)

See, that’s the difference in a Cowman and a Cowboy. Cowboy’s don’t look at the big picture. They don’t have to consider all the things that a cowman has to evaluate. It’s not the cowboys money tied up in these four legged hamburgers. You won’t ever see a cowman pullin’ down his rope unless there is just no alternative.

A cowman knows his cattle and his cattle know him. A cowman won’t tolerate runnin’ off cattle or those that are prone to go on the hook. It’s called herd management. Are you startin’ to get a sense of what I’m tryin’ to tell you son? (The cowboy is lookin’ down now, somewhat embarrassed.)

I suggest that the next time you want to pull the twine off the horn and rope somethin’ just cause you want to, you just take a minute to consider that it might be a lot more fun, but not necessarily the only way. Take your time with the calves. Don’t be so quick to rush into things. Take care of these cattle as if your money depended on their weight and health, cause mine does.

Now I don’t mind teachin’ young guys what I was taught. I was a cowboy who used to rope somethin’ the first time they twitched an ear. But I’ve growed up since then and I think it’s time that more cowboys starting lookin’ at things from the rancher’s perspective.

I ain’t gonna attempt to teach you everything that has taken me years to learn today. But I hope that you have a little different opinion of what’s the right way to work cattle and that ropin’ ’em ain’t the only way to get somethin’ accomplished. (The cowboy is noddin’ his head and still lookin’ at his boots.)

Have you understood everything I have said so far? (The cowboy nods his head)

What’s the main thing that I was tryin’ to get across to you then?

The cowboy looks around for support and then says, “Well, I think what you’re tellin’ me is that a cowman is just a cowboy that can’t rope.”

The laughter that followed was deafening.

There didn’t seem any way that the cowboy was going to get out of that without admitting that he was wrong. I am sure that at some point he felt backed into a corner. We have all felt like that at some point or another in our lives.

When Jesus was teachin’, many people tried to trick him into sayin’ things they could use against him. Not one time did they ever succeed. The reason is that he didn’t play their games. No matter what happened or what they said, he always kept his focus on God.

“Well then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” 26 So they failed to trap him by what he said in front of the people. Instead, they were amazed by his answer, and they became silent. –Luke 20:25-26

There are many traps and snares along the trail that we as Christians follow. If we allow ourselves to be suckered in by the twisting of words and ideas then we will ultimately get trapped. But if we focus on God and understand what He desires for us, then no amount of soap boxes or fancy words will be able tangle us up.

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