Thursday, August 17, 2006

Cowboy Up

I just finished reading a new book by Dr. Joseph Ransom. The Healing City: A Cowboy Christmas Story is set in the town of Ronan, Montana, where Dr. Joseph was born.

In his book, Dr. Joseph reminds us that the cowboy spirit is alive and well. It is what is right in America. The characteristics of honesty, integrity and hard work are more than principles from the West--they are principles from the Word.

If Jesus had been born in a barn in Montana, His stories may have been of the Good Cowboy instead of the Good Shepherd. It's an interesting thought with similarities and great differences, as well: The Good Shepherd is entirely responsible for the flock. He is responsible for their care, their protection, their food and drink. In spite of His great responsibility, it is considered to be the lowliest of jobs.
The Good Cowboy, likewise, is responsible for the herd. He works hard at what ever needs to be done. While he may prefer to do his work from the saddle, he knows that much of the work must be done with his boots firmly on the ground; mending fences, cutting bulls, nursing calves, and putting up hay for the long winters. While the work is hard physical labor, the job--the profession of Cowboy, is the ultimate of all jobs. It embodies all of the characteristics of A Good Man. A Cowboy is honest, courageous, loyal and hardworking. He is a man's man. He is chivalrous--always the gentleman, kind to children and defender of those in need.

I don't for a moment believe that Jesus thought that the job of shepherd was a lowly job. It may have been a servant's job or the job given to the youngest in the family, but Jesus was kind of big on that whole thing of elevating the humble, the least being the greatest, the last being the first. Jesus may have had more success at getting us off of our pews and into the pastures if He could have used the Good Cowboy theme. Think of it--a horse in every stable and beans in every pot! Rounding up mavericks to increase the herd!

When it comes right down to it, it probably doesn't matter if we're a shepherd or a cowboy. It was never about us. It was always about them--the lost, the ones that need to know Jesus. We either have a servant’s heart or we don't. We're either going to work for the Kingdom or we're not. Whatever He's called you to do--it's time to Cowboy up!

“What is important to remember is this: one Christmas long ago a stranger arrived in Ronan, Montana. His love touched everyone he knew. No, he didn’t change the world. But he changed his world. He changed Ronan and he changed me.”
From the Epilogue of The Healing City.


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