Windmills of Christianity

by Kevin on August 23, 2010

Hanging in my office is one of my greatest treasures. It is a picture that my Grandmother painted of a windmill. To the right of the windmill is the first “cowboy poetry” that I ever wrote. The poem was a dedication to a great friend of mine named Larry Joyce who passed away last year. I look at this painting and poem nearly every day and I think about how God uses it to speak to me.

The Windmill

As I rode upon the way one day,

A windmill I passed by.

I saw unnoticed beauty,

As it reached up towards the sky.

I never heard it complain too much,

Just a little creak and moan,

As it did the job God intended

Out here in the pasture all alone.

There’s a lesson to be learned from them

If you listen to what they say.

When the norther comes a blowin’,

Upon the ground you do not lay.

For when that big storm’s a comin’

And the wind it gets too high,

Just turn a little sideways

And let the storm blow on by.

Some say this thing pumps out water,

But I say it pumps out love.

Givin’ what’s needed for life

To any cowboy, horse, or dove.

So as we gather here together

On this hot and windy day,

Gathered around a hole in the ground

In which our friend will lay.

Let us not remember,

How his body will turn to dust.

Remember the love he pumped out

Still lives in each of us.

Friends are like windmills

Taken for granted till they’re not there,

Taken up to heaven

On one more gust of air.

The need for more Christian Windmills

It sounds so simple to compare Christians to windmills, but I think there is a need for all of us to take a lesson from these mighty guardians of cowboy life.

Stand Tall

Christians have taken a “down low” approach to living their lives. They love God and want to share Jesus with others, but they are more like a cat stalkin’ a frog in high grass. They try to keep out of sight and then pounce the message on an unsuspecting lost friend, family, or stranger. Instead of ambush Christianity, we need to just stand out and stand tall, unashamed of what God has done for us and willing to share the Good News with all who will be attracted by the Message of hope and redemption.

Turn in the right direction

A properly functioning windmill cannot face in the wrong direction. The tail of the windmill will always point the blades in the direction that the wind is blowing from. If a windmill is not turned in the right direction, the windmill cannot get the power it needs to turn and work. We also must face the right direction. Our effectiveness is a result of turning to Jesus for the power that we need.

Relax and let God’s power work through you

A windmill cannot pump water on it’s own. It has all the tools for pumping, but it relies on the wind to produce the power it needs to do it’s job. Too often, Christians try to rely on their own strength and power instead of just relaxing and letting God work through them. The wind blows through the blades on the mill and makes it turn. This turning starts the pumping and the water starts flowing.

Work and Rest

As long as the wind is blowing, the mill is working. The wind won’t blow forever though. When the wind stops blowing, the windmill rests. We too must take heed of this concept. Christians try to put the wind on a schedule. This schedule is one of convenience for us. Instead of our schedule, we need to rely on God’s timing. Christians tend to go overboard one way or another. Some “rest” way too often and others “work” way too much.

Oasis in the pasture

The greenest part of a pasture is usually around a windmill, especially in the desert. Windmills don’t produce very much water in a short amount of time, but they pump a little bit each day that sure adds up in a hurry. Before you know it, the water has overflowed the tank and it’s running out onto the ground. This makes everything rich and green around it.

Take the time today to just relax and let God turn you in the direction of His will. Rely on his power to bring forth the love of Christ. Don’t worry about abundance or amounts, just work at being available to God. Work when he sends the wind. Rest when God tells you to. And just keep sharing the Living Water to those that are thirsty and dying.

Just remember:

Some say this thing pumps out water,

But I say it pumps out love.

Givin’ what’s needed for life

To any cowboy, horse, or dove.

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  • Wasn’t it Jesus who said, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

    God’s Holy Spirit is the wind that powers our lives. And the picture of the windmill is a great way to see that. Stand up tall, face the wind, and let the Spirit blow. I like that.


    • Kevin

      We can not see the Holy Spirit or the wind, but we can see the effect that the Spirit has on our world. When we do allow the Holy Spirit to work through us, the effects are dramatic, even if we don’t see the results right away.

  • I’m not sure if it should be work AND rest or work IN rest, but either way you have the best description of how the Christian life is meant to be lived that I’ve ever seen. The windmill stands as tall as the city as the hill, gives life and light, and everyone knows it for what it is. Awesome, thanks for this great image!

    • Kevin

      I struggled with that part right there above all other points. How do you accurately put those thoughts into words? Even when a windmill is working, it’s not a chore–it’s doin’ what it’s made to do. So even when there is work to be done, it’s not a burdensome toll, but rather a natural part of life. Kind of like breathing.

  • Still chokes me up some. Larry was a great friend and this is a great tribute.

    • Kevin

      Yeah, I miss him too.

  • Joe Ray

    I agree with David. It still strikes a chord in your heart just like the first time that I heard it. Larry Joyce will always be remebered.

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