Looking for Charlie and Finding Something Else

by Kevin on October 5, 2011

The new cowboy was up bright and early and wanted to make a good first impression on Chilicote Ranch. Bran sat hunkered down outside the bunkhouse with a cup of coffee steaming from between his hands as the wagon boss walked up.

“Mornin’ to ya Bran,” the segundo said.

“Mornin’ boss.”

“Bran, first thing I need ya to do is go grab a horse from the pens and go out and find Charlie. He should be in the big pasture behind us here and the owner has something he needs Charlie to do. Don’t take any back talk from him, you bring him in whether he wants to come in or not.”

Bran pitched his the coffee dregs out in front of him as he stood up and grabbed his saddle. It ain’t natural for anything thing to carry a saddle except for a horse, the back of the truck, or the tack room of a trailer. Bran hobbled down to the pens, alternating the saddle from a “hip load” to the “over the back horn carry”.

He found a big bay horse standing there and pitched his saddle up on its back and slid the bit and bridle on with practiced ease. With a few tugs on the cinch and a quick double check of the rest, Bran struck a long trot out to find Charlie.

He figured this old boy must be cantankerous by the way the wagon boss had said to bring him in, no matter what Charlie thought about it. Bran had worked with some of these single minded cowboys that seemed to live in the saddle and didn’t cotton too much to the idea of doing anything except what they saw fit to do. These were usually top hands and hard workers, but they sure had their moments.

Bran rode and rode the pasture and didn’t come across hide nor hair of anyone. He went through the thick brush that permeated the south side of the pasture and checked for tracks on the north side where there was sparse vegetation. He would have given his left knee cap, which didn’t work that great in the first place, for a hill that he could ride up and look for this elusive Charlie.

Finally, after about three hours, Bran saw two riders and he angled over at a long trot to meet them. When he got close enough for facial recognition, he saw that is was the segundo and another man he took for maybe being this elusive Charlie.

The all reined up and the wagon boss had an exasperated look about him. “Dang it Bran! Where’ve you been? I thought I must be coming out to look for a dead man or something.”

Bran took off his hat and wiped the sweat with the left sleeve of his denim shirt. “Boss, I’ve looked everywhere and unless this feller here is Charlie, I’m afraid my hand’s been called and I ain’t even got a pair.”

The mystery man dismounted and handed the reins to the wagon boss. “I’m not Charlie son. I’m the owner of this outfit. Why don’t you climb down here for a second.”

Bran cursed himself for an idiot as he swung his right leg over the cantle and dismounted.

The owner walked over and took the reins from Bran and petted the horse as he said, “Hello Charlie. Seems this young man has been lookin’ for you all over the place and you were right under his nose the whole time. I’ve got a job for you today. I need you to tote some of my grandkids around this afternoon. Come on. Let’s go.”

Acts 17:27
God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.

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  • Don Coyote

    I once read somethin’ akin to this:

    “Why do you seek that which is not lost?”


  • I’m not sure I get the point. The cowboy had no way to know the horse was Charlie, he followed the boss’ instructions then is played the fool?

    One time I worked at a saddle shop, the shop also sold horse trailers. From time to time the trailers needed washing. One day I had washed a few trailers and the boss and his crony were out watching me and trading gossip as they did daily. The boss yelled over, “hey, wash my PU.” So I did, just as I finished he hollered,”Hey, wash old Cronies PU while you’re there.” So I did, as I finished up they laughed and laughed, slapping knees and shaking their heads…. I never got the joke. I was paid to work there, I did as my boss asked, and somehow I ended up being the afternoons entertainment…. that was a long time ago and it still smarts.

    So help me out here, what is the point and lesson of the story?

    • Kevin

      People look for Jesus everywhere except right beside them. In this story, the cowboy assumes that Charlie is a man and is therefore doing a great job of searching and not doing that great at finding. It’s not for lack of want or lack of effort, it’s just that the premise of who Charlie is was mistaken from the beginning.

      First of all, Bran is sent to find Charlie and told he could take any horse he found. Guess who was waiting on him when he got to the pens? Charlie!! The very one he wanted to find was the first to be there. Likewise, if you know what to look for, you will see that Jesus is the first one we encounter when we search for him. Sadly enough though, I missed him several times in my search.

      Many people go looking for Jesus in church, but he is not found in a building. He’s found living in the hearts of souls of those that believe.

      There are biblical scholars that have made a life of reading the bible that have never experienced the joy found in Christ. Jesus is revealed in the Bible, not found there like a bookmark.

      Maybe it wasn’t clear, but the ranch owner never condemned Bran for anything. It was obvious he was trying to do what he was supposed to. I know I’ve felt like Bran before because I wish I’d have come to Christ long before I did, but Jesus never condemns us….He welcomes us like the prodigal son.

      If you want to hear more about this story, check out the audio sermon from yesterday. It was on there.

      Hope this helps.

  • Elaine Edwards

    What a great parable! Glad I visited, as suggested by my nephew. Jesus minced no words and neither did you! God bless you this day…you’ve gained an Arkansas visitor!

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