Roughstock, ropin’, and religion – Here’s what I think.

by Kevin on June 23, 2010

The sport of rodeo is highly unique. I know of no other sport in the world where you are either paired with or paired against an animal that weighs at least five to ten times more than you do.

Events such as bull riding, saddle bronc riding, and bareback riding are man against beast. It’s an eight second battle that can either make you or break you–literally. These are called the rough stock events. They are not called that because of their texture. They are a bone jarring, teeth rattling, bone breaking assault and all out war that is waged in less time than most people can finish a sneezing fit. If you ever want to experience time travel here on earth, then just climb on a bull and tie yourself to it and have someone open the gate. Eight seconds in this situation sometimes takes a lifetime to complete.

Other events such as team roping, steer roping, calf roping, and steer wrestling all use at least one horse and one steer. It’s a test of skill where everything has to work out just right or you go home with nothing. Come out too fast or too slow and you go home. Miss a slide or miss a daly and you might as well hit the road. These events are decided in milliseconds and the slightest hesitation or hurried throw will end in failure.

Barrel racing is a unique event where a cowgirl and her horse test the boundaries of speed and agility. Once again, this event can be decided in split seconds. Horses that can negotiate three turns and four top speed sprints are worth their weight in gold. The cowgirls that ride these horses are masters of judging speed and handling.

Just like in life, we put these cowboys and cowgirls on posters and billboards because of their unique abilities in their chosen events. But often overlooked are the real stars of the show. Where would bull riding be if it weren’t for bulls like Bodacious and Tornado? Has any horse ever ran a set of cans better and more consistently than Scamper? In all these events, it’s the animals that do 90% or more of the work and they get less than 10% of the credit.

If a bucking horse doesn’t buck well, then the cowboy gets a low score. If the steer drags or the calf refuses to lay, then the cowboy is liable to lose. If the horse knocks down a barrel, then the cowgirl has wasted hundreds of dollars as well as hundreds of miles on her truck.

The animals are the real stars of the show. They are the ones that get the job done. They are the heart and soul of rodeo. Any cowboy or cowgirl that rodeos will tell you that. Most of the time, they are just hanging on while the animals strut their stuff. We endow the cowboys and cowgirls with applause for their miraculous and wonderous gifts, but the real credit is not theirs.

And neither is it our in our Christian lives!

Acts 6:8 – Stephen, a man full of Godโ€™s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people.

We have come to thank people for their prayers when one gets answered. We thank others for their wisdom and insight when sound advice is given. We thank a preacher or shake the hand of musicians for touching our hearts with words of encouragement through song and sermon. But the real work, the real thanks need to go God and God alone.

We are merely along for the ride. It has never been or will it ever be, through a person’s own skill, that a miracle or answered prayer comes into being. It is God’s power that performs miraculous and wonderous signs, not ours.

It does take a certain amount of skill to hang on for eight seconds. It takes the same amount to be able to rope a calf and get him tied on the ground in under ten seconds. But let us not ever forget the true power behind these cowboy’s and cowgirl’s abilities. Just like Stephen, we have no power to work miracles or answer prayers. We must solely depend on God’s amazing power available to us through his Son.

I leave you with a quote from one of my favorite Christian writers. He says, “I’ve tried to learn a lot, but the only thing of which I am certain, is that I am the instrument, the pen, and not the Author.” You can read more about him here.

So the next time you want to pat yourself or someone else on the back, raise your hand inย  praise of the one that really deserves any and all the credit–Jesus Christ.

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  • Well thanks for the compliment and the link love ๐Ÿ™‚
    Part of the reason my online presence is signaled by “justapen” is that I grew up with serious pride issues. Even after becoming a Christian it was a constant question of “Does God get the glory for this or do I get some of the credit for getting it done?” A big part of this issue is humility especially in a country where individual achievement really matters and we camp out on things like “what’s your legacy” or “what’s your contribution” and “walk the walk.”
    It’s very hard to remember to give All Glory to God. So thanks for the reminder….Thank you Spirit for the reminder? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Kevin

      Your welcome buddy.

  • That addresses several of my concerns actalluy.

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