What a cow’s butt has to do with cowboy ministry…

by Kevin on February 23, 2012

Palpating cattle is not a real popular illustration with the lesser cowboy aficionados of the cowboy ministry target audience. Before you google it and try to figure out what I mean (those that know are already smiling), it basically means stickin’ your entire arm up a cow’s butt to see if she is bred our not…and no, ranchers don’t usually use a cow-sized version of an EPT test stick. It’s hard to convince a cow to pee on a stick. She’ll look right at you and pee in the hay, but not on a stick. Weird, huh?

Cowboy ministry is just as messy as palpating cattle. If your cowboy preacher shows up with a palpating glove, it’s probably because he’s been shoulder deep in a situation that most people would turn squeamish over.

I think this is why cowboy ministry has been so effective. Cowboys aren’t usually scared off by dirty things that most would run from instead of willingly do on a daily basis. But there is a down-side to this…

Cowboys, by nature, are a solitary bunch of folks. They feel more at home alone in the pasture on horseback than they do surrounded by a herd of people. It takes a special cowboy to get off the ranch, willingly drive through the gate, and go do the Lord’s work dealing with the one species that he probably tries to keep as far from as possible…people.

See, he’s supposed to love them. For some reason it’s frowned upon when he tries to help them move from somewhere that’s bad for them to a pasture that has the good stuff and not be able to use the tools of his trade: a rope, a long yeller hot-shot, a Catahoula cowdog, and a sortin’ stick.

Dealing with some people is like trying to pick up a turd by the clean end.

This comment led one cowboy preacher to say, “Ministry would be a great profession if you could do it without dealing with people.”

I concur!

But alas, I think that’s why God didn’t allow the cowboy ministry to have monks. Nearly every cowboy preacher would gladly move off to a solitary ranch somewhere where the sound of an elk bugle took the place of excuses and pity parties. This wouldn’t be to get away from the duty of spreadin’ the gospel to the lost, it would be to get away from the so-called Christians that cause more problems than all the lost combined.

If you think I’m joking, consider this: In the 10 months since I’ve started Save the Cowboy here in Colorado, I’ve had three nuclear bomb sized explosion and not a one of these explosions was caused by someone that didn’t know God. The fuses were all lit by self-professed, holier than everyone else, “Christians”.

I’m telling you this so that you will understand the signs when you see a cowboy preacher talkin’ to someone and he has that far off look in his eye. He loves you, that why he’s there doing the things that are so far from his comfort zone. But that far off look is a longing for the life of a Cowboy Monk; a place where he can worship God every single day and brand cattle on the altar of the Lord.

He may be clean shaven and look nice, but if you look closely, you can see some circular marks left by the rubber band that was holding the palpating glove up on his arm just the day before…or better yet, the minute before you walked up.

Remember, he probably didn’t choose this job…the Lord chose him.

And he accepted…


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  • I once heard a story about an very old monk who ministered to terrorists in Palistine and Isreal. When asked why God would call him, in his 80s, to something so dangerous, he responded ‘He may have asked others. I was the first who said yes.’
    It takes a big person to answer a call like that. Not everyone may answer God, but God always knows that those who do will be able to do it.
    Does that make sense? Basically what it means is, this work sounds hard. I’m glad you followed God’s leading. I’m also glad I have never stuck my arm up a cow’s butt. 😉

    • Kevin

      Awesome story about the monk.

      But it’s definitely not just cowboy preachers that go through this, everyone who has ever shared the gospel can probably relate to this in some form or fashion.

      I bet Saint Peter had wished for a glove every now and then.

  • A rubberband…. (slaps forehead)…. thats a good idea.


  • Jean Nelsen

    Funny! And o so true.

  • Hang in there (old Ace Reid cartoon). The good book never said you would be popular, here, for doing His work.

    Thought that was pretty funny about a cow peeing in the hay. Horses have the same affliction, rather pee on on than eat it sometimes. Of course with the drought, everything gets eaten up right now!

    • Kevin

      I’m gonna bale some snow up for you….$100 a ton.

      • boy, I’ll bet the shipping is a booger on that baled snow. heavery when it leaves and light when it gets to Texas!

        • Kevin

          If the wind keeps blowing, there won’t be any need for a freight company…air mail.

  • Ed

    I know first hand about the nuclear size explosions caused by those who call themselves “Christians.” They can really make a mess of things sometimes. There are days that I would much rather be sitting on the side of a mountain somewhere in Colorado, just me and the Lord, than here in Indiana mucking out the stalls here in the church. But this is where God called me to be, so this is where I am. And I am happy doing what he calls me to do (sometimes more so than others though.)

    • Kevin

      I don’t know of very many cowboys that are thrilled with the concept of diggin’ post holes through rocky soil either. But ask a cowboy if he is happy and he will tell you yes.

      This is cowboy ministry. We don’t just do the easy stuff, we are willing (sometimes grudgingly) to do the hard stuff, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t enjoy the life we’ve been called to.

      Thanks for the muckin’ you do for the Lord. Our reward will be in heaven…and sometimes we get a glimpse of that reward here on earth.

  • I a story in church, about this pastor who seemed to have it all together. And when the arrows started flying at him, he didn’t seem to react one bit. One of the church member’s asked him, how do you do it? The pastor replied that he had more holes from the arrows in him, than the church member did…so yeah, you’ll get dirty and come under attack sometimes…but I think that makes you tougher, able to deal with stuff and hopefully handle it with a lttle more mercy/grace because you’ve been through the muck and mire 🙂 Greetings from the ocean shores of California, Heather 🙂

  • This is the first time I’ve broke through the blogger bushes to say HOWDY… This is a great piece and you have a one-liner buried in there that I think is the best quote of the week, no, the year, maybe, ever: “Dealing with some people is like trying to pick up a turd by the clean end.”


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