I wouldn’t recommend cowboying to anyone, but I wouldn’t do anything else.

by Kevin on October 27, 2010

Hangin’ on the wall in the Alpine, Texas Civic Center is a picture of a cowboy drinking straight out of a cattle trough. He still has his hat on and the brim is halfway in the water as he drinks. The caption underneath the picture goes something like this:

“I don’t guess I would recommend this to anyone else, but I can’t imagine myself doin’ anything else except bein’ a cowboy.”

I wonder why he would say that? Why wouldn’t he recommend something that was so much a part of his life? It’s because he knows how hard a life it is.

He knew that most people wouldn’t be able to get up and ride buckin’ horses before most people have had their Starbucks. He knew that flanking and brandin’ 150 head of calves is the kind of exercise that most men will never experience. He knew about pullin’ a windmill that’s holdin’ water in the winter and not complainin’ too much about the cold. He’s felt the heartache of havin’ to put a good horse down with your own bullet. The cowboy life knows it’s own set of sufferin’ that most people will never experience.

But if you listen close to what he says, he tells of the joys of the cowboy life. The joy of comin’ over the top of the mountain with 500 head of cattle and seein’ the pens in the distance. The way it makes you smile when you see a brand new calf trottin’ beside his momma. Those early morning coffee sessions with the rest of the cowboys before you saddle up and gather the pasture. There are countless joys that most people wouldn’t understand and there is no way you can explain how they overshadow all the suffering.

The same goes for being a Christian. I’m not talking about those people who go to church on Sunday and then they are a different person on Monday. I’m talking about those folks who have died to self, taken up their cross, and follow Jesus on a daily basis. If you’ve never suffered as a Christian, then you either are not one, or haven’t been one for very long.

You’ve never had that old devil get a hold of you until you leave his side and start living for God. He turns up the stress, the worry, the gossip, the guilt, and the feeling of rejection like you wouldn’t believe. God won’t allow anything more than we can handle, but I assure you that God will sometimes allow every single ounce that you can. Being a Christian can be tough.

1 Timothy 1:8

With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News.

But it also has joys that someone who doesn’t know Christ wouldn’t understand. The feeling of peace in the midst of conflict. The knowing that no matter what life throws at you, God is going to take care of you. The peace that comes from no longer coveting material possessions. The power of putting Jesus as Lord over your life instead of money, alcohol, sex, and filthy talk.

You’re probably not going to become rich. You’re going to work hard and be sore on the inside and out. People are going to look down their noses at you. Your job is never going to end because this job doesn’t have an end. If you do your job right, you will suffer on many occasions and also have more joy than you could ever imagine.

Am I talking about cowboying or being a Christian? Like Jesus says, “Let those who have ears listen.”

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  • Don Coyote

    I’m reminded of the old cowboy song “Night Rider’s Lament”, here’s some of the lyrics:

    Why does he ride for his money?
    And tell me why does he rope for short pay?
    He ain’t a-gettin’ nowhere
    And he’s losin’ his share
    Boy; he must’ve gone crazy out there

    Ah but they’ve never seen the Northern Lights
    They’ve never seen a hawk on the wing
    They’ve never seen spring hit the Great Divide
    And they’ve never heard ol’ camp cookie sing

    Even in the middle of it all, tuff as it gets some times, we can still stop, give the horse a rest, take a breather our own selves, and look at all the good around and yet to come.

    • Kevin

      I haven’t thought of that song in years and years. It was one of the first songs I learned to play on the guitar. How true those verses really are!!

      So the question remains, how do we get people to know the joy of Christ like we do? I’ll answer it….we can’t. We must invite and share our story, but the decision is theirs to make.

      • Don Coyote

        ‘Zackly. You cain’t see the “Northern Lights” from a bar room dance floor and you sure won’t see a “Hawk on the Wing” from a jail cell.

        Like you said all you can do is tell what you know.

  • My Pastor told me last night that we need to remember that God isn’t just a shield or a rock we can cling to, but that He is a present part of whatever it is we’re going through. Peace in the midst of conflict isn’t just peace, it’s the manifestation of a living God. It’s the fourth man in the furnace who doesn’t deliver the men from suffering, but makes sure they’re ok through it, and that they have something awesome to say afterwards.

    • Kevin

      Amen to the fourth man!!!

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