Straight Shootin’ Part 5 – The Mustang

by Kevin on June 11, 2010

This is the last and final part of a series where we take a look at Christian cowboy living without any fancy talk or sugar coating. If you missed the previous posts, please be sure and check them out.

Straight Shootin’ Part 1 – The Sortin’ Gate

Straight Shootin’ Part 2 – What is Christianity?

Straight Shootin’ Part 3 – The church of Lonesome Dove

Straight Shootin’ Part 4 – The Karate Kid Syndrome

The Greatest Horse in the world

What would you do if you had the best horse the world has ever seen? This horse could win every championship in any event, any weather, any situation, any time, any place, and never made a mistake.

It wouldn’t matter if you were in a cutting competition, western pleasure, working cow horse, halter, play day, speed event, team roping, hunter-jumper, or even the Kentucky Derby and beyond. Your horse could do it all. He could perform to perfection. He could score perfect every single time. What would you do with such a horse?

Sadly, most cowboys leave this horse at home. Everyone else has horses that are big and strong with tails that reach the ground. They have pedigrees that rival England’s Royal history. Everyone else hauls these horses around in $200,000 rigs that have everything from air conditioning to ice cream makers. When these fancy horses step out the trailer, the pride oozes from them and permeates the air around them. They are accustomed to glitz and glamor and their owners have to wear 10 gallon hats to keep their heads from exploding with self pride. But why is our horse left at home?

Our horse doesn’t have a tail that reaches the ground. Our horse has battle scars from a long fight. He eventually won, but not without sacrifice. Our horse doesn’t look like Secretariat or Man-of-War. He looks like a vagabond mustang. He has no papered pedigree.

We don’t have fancy trucks and trailers to haul him around in. Even though he has never lost a competition, we leave him at home because people make fun of us. They say that we are not welcome because we don’t fit in. So we end up caving in to the pressure and just leave him at home.

We end up borrowing all sorts of money and buy the big fancy horse that will fit in. We go even further and purchase a big, fancy rig to haul our new horse around in. We beam with pride as we are finally accepted. But the joy is just exterior.

We no longer win any competitions. We get bucked off more than we finish anything. We send our new horse to trainers and spend all our money on making him better. This horse seems to need constant attention to get the smallest of rewards out of him and those are few and far between.

We give him the best stall with all the shade. We feed him the best that money can buy. We spend countless hours trying in vain to get him to have just one of the qualities of that other horse. But we pay little attention to the mustang standing at the gate as he always has.

But at some point in our lives, we think back to that mustang that taught us how to ride. He never went too fast or turned too sharp even though we tried our best to go beyond what he knew we were capable of. He never bucked us off and was always there with a nuzzle when we fell off. When we got mad and felt hurt by the world, he was there. Never saying anything out loud, but speaking volumes with loving eyes.

We had never lost with that old mustang, but as time went on and we grew older, he didn’t fit the qualities we thought we needed. The joy for us changed from childlike giggles as we sped across the pasture bareback to the need for acceptance from those with whom we associated. Our old friend was replaced by new and shinier things that brought us temporary and fleeting happiness.

Now our friend stands alone out in the pasture. He’s always there watching over us as we struggle with his replacement. He’s never complained or held a grudge against the neglect after he gave so much.

Then, we finally get tired of the fight and frustration. We invite our old friend back into the arena of life. With renewed childlike joy, we remember how much we have missed. The love, trust, and faith of an old friend. We experience once again the beauty of just riding. Knowing that it is not us that is working or succeeding, but Him.

Once again, in the fading of the setting sun, it’s just the mustang and his cowboy. It’s all either of them wanted. It just took one a little longer to figure it out.

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  • Oh for the simplicity of just enjoying life with Jesus! Don’t we try to complicate it too much sometimes? It’s pride, plain and sinful. “God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6). –Richard

  • As I read this Kevin my first thought that was that the horse was like a child or grown up child that still sleeps with a blanket or baby doll when they can but feels unaccepted by the world and so leaves that at home because they are teased and ends up feeling lonely and insecure. My second thought while reading is that I wanted to hug the horse that got left behind when we chose to use the better horse that gives us acceptance in the world. The mustang being the horse that bring security kind of like what Jesus does and the other horse gives us acceptance by the world, insecurity, and possibly falling away from Jesus. Coming to the end I realized that it was about returning to the mustang, the horse that was our childhood friend, nomatter what the world thinks of us, like returning to Jesus or that child-like faith.
    Thank you for writing about the horse, it reminded me of some things and that sometimes it’s best to stick with what the world doesn’t accept because it’s better.

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  • This is beautiful. Reading between the lines. It reminds me of the prodigal, chasing after the world for fulfillment. When in the end, it was his relationship with his “faithful mustang” that brought true, lasting joy. Thanks.

  • Steve Gilcrest

    This is so true of us all at some time we have all done this with Jesus and god. Then some of go back to to the old faithful friend and realize what we have been missing all along.

  • Beautiful post. Sorry i didn’t get a chance to say this earlier, but what a beautiful post. 🙂

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