The Death of Cowboys and Dreams

by Kevin on April 8, 2011

There once was a young boy who wanted nothing more than to be a cowboy. He woke every morning and dreamed of riding across a ranch in search of calving heifers. He watched old western movies so he could learn the cowboy code. If you asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he always said, “I want to be a cowboy.”

Years went by and the young lad grew into a young man. He never lost his desire to work the big spreads and to ride the rank broncs. He never gave up hope that one day his wish would be fulfilled.

An old rancher had been watchin’ the young man for years. They had exchanged some conversations in the feed store as the young boy had quizzed him in the tack section about what each piece of cowboy equipment was called and what it was used for. The old rancher loved the boys enthusiasm and desire to learn.

One day, the rancher saw the boy workin’ in the feed store. The boy had become a man and was now workin’ hard for a livin’. The old rancher decided to give him a chance at becoming the cowboy he’d always dreamed of being.

“How’s ’bout you come work on the ranch?” the old man said.

The young man’s eyes widened in astonishment and he forgot to breathe for nearly a minute. Finally, he found his wind and said, “Are you serious?!”

“Son, I don’t joke around about hirin’ cowboys and I don’t just hire anyone. Do you want the job or not?”

Worry replaced the look of astonishment and the young man said, “I want to take the job real bad, but first I need to save up my money and buy me a saddle.”

The old man nodded his head and said, “Let me know when you’re ready.”

Time went on and the old rancher would see the boy working hard. He never brought up the offer again, but smiled a welcoming smile at the young man’s hard work.

One day, the rancher walked into the feed store and saw the boy shinin’ as bright as a kid with his first new bike. The young man led the old cowboy over to a rack and showed him his new saddle.

“Whew! That’s sure enough a nice saddle son. Now that you’ve got it, are you ready to come work?”

“You bet I’m ready. I’ve been waiting a long time, but first I have to save up some money and buy me a horse. It won’t do no good to have a saddle if I ain’t got nothin’ to put underneath it.”

The old man nodded his head and said, “Let me know when you’re ready.”

Time went on just like before. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. Before he knew it, the young man had been toiling away in the feed store saving up for the horse that he’d need to ply his trade.

After what seemed like forever, but was more just a matter of years, the young man had his horse and his saddle. He informed the rancher that he’d finally achieved what he’d set out to do.

“Do you need me to come into town with the trailer and pick up your horse?” the old rancher asked.

The man, no longer a boy, pondered the question and then said, “You know, I’ve got a saddle and a horse to go underneath it, but any cowboy worth anything needs a trailer. Let me first save up some money so I can get a trailer and then I’ll come to work for you.”

The old man nodded his head and said, “Let me know when you’re ready.”

Time went on and the trailer was saved up for and bought. But each time one obstacle was covered, another presented itself. Leggings were needed, horse shoeing equipment had to be purchased, and ropes for catchin’ the wild cows.

Years went by and the man married. He had some kids and watched them grow up and watched his future boss grow old and frail.

Every time they were around each other, the man would tell the old rancher how much closer he was at comin’ to work for him. Each time the old man would nod his head and say, “Let me know when you’re ready.”

One winter day, a note was handed to the young man at the feed store. The note had said that the old rancher had passed away and his widow would like him to come out to the ranch. Seems the old man had left him something.

With a heavy heart and tears in his eyes, the middle aged man, who had a wife and kids, a horse, a saddle, and a trailer full of tack and other cowboy equipment, drove out to the ranch.

He knocked on the door and introduced himself to the rancher’s wife. She asked him to give her a minute while she got her coat. He stood outside and looked around at the modest ranch house and pens that sat next to the barn down the hill. He pondered on what it would have been like to work out here. He lamented about how fast time flies and how all his dreams could have been fulfilled if there had just been more time.

Finally, the lady came out and asked him to walk down to the barn with her. When they got down there, she asked him to open the heavy barn door.

He opened it up and found a lone horse standing in the stall. On the rack next to the stall, he saw a brand new saddle covered in dust. And sitting in the middle of a barn was a horse trailer with a tack room on the front filled with everything a cowboy might ever need.

“What is all this?” the man asked.

“It’s yours,” she replied. “You see, before my husband even offered you that job, he knew you didn’t have anything. He went and bought you a new saddle, a horse, a trailer, and everything you’d ever need.”

“Why didn’t he tell me? I wouldn’t have wasted all those years workin’ for that stuff. I could have been here bein’ a cowboy,” the man said with a chokin’ voice.

“He just told you to come out and be a cowboy. You said you needed all that stuff, not him.” She was silent for a moment and then continued, “Watch out for the “first’s” that keep you from following your dreams son.”

“Remember, you follow and God will supply.”

59 He said to another man, “Follow me.”

But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”

62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:59-62 (New International Version)

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  • Carla Helms

    Wow, Kevin, that’s about the saddest thing I’ve ever read. If we would only learn that if we answer God’s call, He will give us everything we need to do what He calls us to do. Thank you for reminding me!

    • Kevin

      God is the Great Supplier of dreams. My prayer is that this message will touch someone that has a desire to follow God and the great plan He has for their life. Jesus warns us about the “firsts” and I just hope this will reach them and allow them to saddle up and ride!! Let God worry about the logistics.

  • Sonya Wentzel

    Wow!! That is powerful. So many times we want to be completely equipped and be assured of the outcome before we move forward. Where is the faith in that? God doesn’t use the equipped, He equips those He uses!!! God bless.

  • Keith Bodwell

    Great article Kevin, I know to many times in the past I have been just like the young man in the story. Within the last 3 years I have finally stopped letting my fears that I was not ready and believing I did not have everything I needed, and realized that if I just followed God, He would provide everything that my family and I would need. God does provide all that we need if we follow his will for our lives. Keep up the good work.
    Your Brother in Christ,

  • Kevin,
    We are so like that a lot of times in ministry. First, let me get my life straightened out, let me go to Bible college and then I must go to seminary and then I must be on staff in a church somewhere as an understudy.
    And all God told me to do was to go tell others the good news about the awesome gift given us by His Son!
    and Jesus told me how I was to share His love so they too would become disciples and baptize them in His Name–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
    God has a plan to prepare us for His work, but we think we have to go buy the text book and go to the seminar too. (Nothing against college or seminary) We just try to over-complicate a simple instruction- GO!

  • Robin Hernandez

    Kevin, this is an exact example of why and how you are such an excellent friend. Your words are always so well chosen and thought out while being powerful and thought provoking. Lots of love to you and yours on your new journey in CO. I look forward to reading more.

  • So true man. We do put so many obstacles in our way. When God tells us to do something. We tell him that as soon as we have our bills paid off, or when I have this or that. We need to stop making those excuses and start doing. How can God do miracles in our lives if we don’t let Him. Great piece of writing Kevin.

  • That’s some good stuff right there, pard.

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