The Stray – Guest Post by Walter Taylor

by Kevin on September 27, 2011

The old cowman had a herd of stocker calves running along the breaks of the Snake River. It had been a short dry summer and grass was short. The old timer wasn’t able to ride, and seeing as how he had no help, he hired several local cowboys to help gather his calves. They started at day break riding out from the corrals.

After working a big circle, the cowboys gathered the calves and eased them back to the pens; all but one. It was a rogue black brangus steer that had some little wild in him. He went along fine, until they reached the pens, where he jumped the fence into the neighbors place and disappeared down the draw.

The old timer picked two of the cowboys to go after the steer, an old hand named Bill, and a young one from the college named Jeff. They cinched up and pulled out while the rest of the crew prepared to load the trucks. As they headed down the steep draw, Jeff asked Bill, “Why are we going off after a single steer? He’ll show up somewhere and they’ll get him home.”

Bill looked at Jeff and replied, “Son, that might be, but you see, this steer belongs to that old man and he’s depending on that steer to get on that truck. Every day he has to wait for that steer to show up costs him money.” Bill went on, “You ever read the bible Jeff?”

“A little bit,” Jeff replied.

Bill said, “There’s a parable in there about a shepherd and his 100 sheep. When one wondered off, he left the rest to go find the stray. It says he was happier to find the one than he was about the 99 back at the pasture. You see, this steer could be that one for that old timer. This one steer could make or break his year.”

The cowboys rode on, found the steer, and eased him back to pens in time to make the last truck.

How often do we think like Jeff in our lives? We see a need and we pass by thinking, “That one will get picked up by the next Christian walking down the road.”

Jesus made a point in his parable that we should search the pastures for the strays and help bring them home. He goes on to say that we will find joy in helping bring home the lost.

I ask you today, are you riding the pasture looking for the strays and helping get them home or are you guarding the herd and figuring someone will find them and do it for you?

If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wonders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wondered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.” Matt. 18:12-14


Walter Taylor is heeding God’s call to start a cowboy ministry in the great state of Washington. Please keep him and the community in your prayers.

Follow Walter and the Catalyst Cowboy Church on Facebook.

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  • Don Coyote

    Good ‘un Walter, I’d say yer off to a good start…

    • Kevin

      I second that.

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