Waiting on an Ethiopian

by Kevin on June 28, 2011

The old man drug a sleeve across a dirty face to wipe the sweat away that was stinging his eyes. Him and some boys had been flanking calves for branding all day. He had forgotten how much harder cowboying was than managing a ranch.

He knew the cowboys wondered what he must have done. The speculating that went on when he was at the water barrel was harder to follow than a moth at midnight. How does one of the most well known ranch managers in the west go from prominence to pitiful in the blink of an eye?

He had risen through the ranks of cowboy life and done well. He had a knack for stocking a ranch with the right cattle and at the right rate. He was never one to shy away from a gamble or cut his losses if things went bad.

Up and up the cowboy ladder he went. Each ranch brought a new challenge and a new job description. He got to meet Senators and Governors and eat beef with some well known movie stars. He appeared a few times in popular cowboy magazines and his advice was a sought after commodity.

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He’d gotten out with the cowboys as often as he could, but management life left little time for cowboying. He often neglected a day’s duty just so he could get horseback and gather or brand with the boys.

He often thought about tellin’ these cowboys he worked along side with now the story of his journey, but he had to wait for the right time. If people only knew he was lookin’ for someone.

That evening when they were sittin’ around the campfire eatin’ beans and biscuits, one of the brasher hands said, “How come is it that you’re out here flanking calves for nearly nothing instead sitting at some bigshot headquarters in Montana?”

Everyone looked at each other as the old cowboy never looked up. He didn’t answer, he just kept eating. None of the boys said nothing because you could tell he was going to answer, but it was going to be when he was ready.

Finally, the old man put his plate down and said, “Let’s just say I’m Philip and I’m lookin’ for the Ethiopian.”

Weeks later, some of the cowboys were at the feed store and a preacher walked in. They rushed over to him and gushed their question.

“Hey Parson, why would a successful ranch manager leave everything behind and just become a cowboy on some desert ranch and then call himself ‘Philip lookin’ for his Ethiopian’?”

The preacher smiled and said, “Philip was a very successful preacher in Samaria, but God called him out of it. God sent Phillip into the desert and he ran into a powerful Ethiopian and baptized him in a river. This opened up Ethiopia to the Gospel.”

“You see boys,” the preacher continued, “we must follow God’s leading, even if it seems like we’re being demoted. We might not always understand the way God works, but the results will prove that God knows best.”

That night, one of the cowboys that was in the feed store was sitting at the table in the bunkhouse and had a bible out. The preacher had sparked a curiosity in him and he had been reading about Philip and the Ethiopian since they’d got back to the ranch.

The young cowboy was amazed at how interesting all this stuff was, but he didn’t understand much of what he read. About that time, the old cowboy that had once been so prominent, walked through the door and looked at him reading his bible.

The younger man said, “No one’s ever called me an Ethiopian before. Sit down here at my chariot and explain to me what the hell…sorry, I mean heck…this means.”

Then Philip began with that very passage of scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. Acts 8:35

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  • Don Coyote

    Another good ‘un, Hoss, ‘mind’s me of the story of ol’ Dean.

    I wonder what that preacher was doin’ in the feed store? S’pose he was lookin’ fer some “sheep” feed?

    • Kevin

      A real author would have had the young cowboy say that he had got his bible from a cowboy on the previous ranch he worked.

      Click here to see what I’m talking about.

      Great point amigo!!

      • Don Coyote

        Yep, that’d be the Mr. Dean I’m a-talkin’ about. That is without a doubt one of my favorites.

  • Carla Helms

    I think you’re identifying with the old cowboy, Kevin. You go, Philip! God Bless You!

    • Kevin

      Thank you Carla…it is what I long for.

  • Brent Love

    Encouraging story!

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