Life lessons from the ropin’ “chute”.

by Kevin on May 10, 2010

The young cowboy finally had his chance at draggin’ calves to the brandin’ fire. For most of his life, he had been the one doin’ all the flankin’ and the brandin’. Doin’ the draggin’ was usually reserved for the old timers who had already spent their time in the trenches of the brandin’ pen.

He waded into the pairs (cows and calves) and tried to set calf draggin’ world speed records with every loop. He rushed his throws, knowin’ that the flankers were waitin’ and the boss was watchin’. At each miss of his noose, he quickly built and hurried the next throw. He got lucky a few times and caught both feet and then whipped and spurred his mount where the waiting cowboys made short work of his catch.

His anxiety grew every time a cowboy told him to take his time. He knew if they had time to give him advice that they were waiting. He could feel their eyes on his back. Along with the eyes, he could hear a few of their snickers when his loop missed the mark.

Before long, he had managed to catch a few calves, but he had done an excellent job of latherin’ his horse and stirrin’ up the herd. The cowboys holdin’ them in the corner were now having to work harder and harder to keep them bunched up.

Finally, the old cowboss  told him that maybe he should give his horse a breather and let someone else spell him for a while. The young cowboy knew what this meant and although he was grateful for the way the boss had handled him, he was all too disappointed to realize the lesson he would be taught.

The boss then asked Snotty if he would mind spellin’ the youngster. Snotty put down the brandin’ iron and shook his head as he mounted his horse. He rode out to the stirred up herd and just sat there and smoked a cigarette. He seemed to enjoy his smoke and never even entered the millin’ throng or took down his rope.

After the first cigarette was finished, he rolled him another one. But this time, he rode along the edge of the pairs and never even glanced at them as he made his way back and forth. Nobody said anything as he finished his second and started rollin’ a third.

This time, he pointed his horse right into the middle and just let the cows and calves kind of spill around him. He still hadn’t taken his rope down and he seemed to be memorizing every calf still needin’ a brand.

Finally, after a fourth smoke and about twenty minutes, he unfurled his rope and steadily supplied calves to the hot fire. When every calf had it’s mark, Snotty rode up to the youngster and said, “Son, gettin’ a job done fast ain’t near as important as gettin’ the job done right.”

“By stirrin’ up all the cattle, your horse, and yourself, you made the job harder. Next time, take a minute to let the cattle accept you among them and then just take it slow and steady until the job is done.”

This life we are living is kind of like jumpin’ out of an airplane. There are a few things that we can do to speed up or slow down our fall, but in the end, we are just free fallin’ through a cloud bank and can’t see the ground. There is no point in takin’ the things of this world so serious and gettin’ in such a hurry that we make ourselves miserable and the job harder.

When you have Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, we don’t have to worry about when the ground is comin’. That chute will open at just the right time and we will be saved. I am very thankful for the saving chute I have on my back and I’ll admit that sometimes I am a little apprehensive about when it will open.

But it hasn’t opened yet, and until it does, I’m gonna do my best to live a life worthy of the gift I was given. I’m gonna do this by enjoyin’ the wind in my hair, the horse between my legs, and the chute on my back.

Do you find yourself hurrying things up and makin’ them worse?

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  • Once again I find my urban upbringing bowing to your cowboy wisdom. Thanks Kevin, I really needed the reminder to slow down and trust in God today.

  • Kevin,
    Your story really hit home with me in this area: I just began a new pastorate after 18 years in the same church. I love my new church family, but there are definitely things I believe God would like us to change so that we love Him more, serve Him better, and reach the lost. With an existing church you can’t push change. I have been here I am just beginning to know my flock (or herd in your vocabulary). I have had to spend a lot of time just loving them, living with them, feeding them, and watching them. I still have a lot of that to do.
    But God will make the changes in us in His good time. My job is just to be a faithful shepherd and to bring the flock along as they are ready and God is working.
    Thanks for the encouragement.
    –Richard

  • Kevin, I love your cowboy stories, almost enough to go buy a Stetson and some boots! Movement doesn’t always translate into productivity. Something I needed to be reminded of today! Thanks!

  • Its the tortoise and the hare in cowboy speak.

    Thanks Kevin – loved the lesson (I think).

  • Great thoughts, Kevin. I have learned–and keep learning–this the hard way. Someone told me once that God is a gentleman. He doesn’t push, He leads with ease. When I find myself frazzled to reach some end, I have learned to stop and reevaluate who I am actually following. Thanks for the reminder.

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