From Ol’ Red to Christ
We all have had to learn lessons about our source of strength and direction, and for me it was the source of strength and direction in my day to day adventure, especially as it had to do with what or who; for example, moving my source of strength and direction from Ol’ Red to Christ. The last time I talked about Ol’ Red, I shared how he was not just a token horse; Ol’ Red was a working horse and a reliable friend. I remember one day when Dad asked me to move the cows from the lower to the upper pasture. I hated the lower pasture, especially when it comes to moving the cattle. But since I was already down there I figured I could do it myself.
The problem with the lower pasture was that the gate was not in a corner. It was in the center of a fence which was in a straight line, so it was easy for the cattle to circle away from the gate rather than going through it. With a corner you have an angle with the fence so it is easier to control the animals. I was too lazy to go get Ol’ Red, so I opened the gate and walked to the other side of the pasture and begin to yell and otherwise try to frighten the cows toward the gate. As we all approached the gate, the older and wiser cows simply ran off to the side, of course leading the rest of the herd behind them.
You would think that trying once and having failed would be enough. But no! I was determined to prove I was smarter than a cow. After more attempts than I care to confess, I finally had to admit to myself I was not smarter than the cows and just get Ol’ Red. Once back in the pasture on the back of Ol’ Red, there was a different spirit. It was like walking past a school bully while you have the big and very protective farm dog with you. You are invincible. That is how it felt on Ol’ Red. It wasn’t that I was confident in me as a herder. I proved my lack of smarts in that area. But I was confident in Ol’ Red and I was on his back. I know it is hard to understand, but when you are a kid, sometimes this is how you think. Ol’ Red just walked past the cows putting them between him and the gate. Then he just walked toward the gate. The cows seemed to know it was no use; they lost this battle because Ol’ Red was now in charge. As we got closer to the gate and a cow would start to run to the side, Ol’ Red would simply move his head in that direction and take a couple of quick steps like he was going to run after them and they would stop and go back. It was amazing. Here I was doing what I could not do alone, of course on the back of Ol’ Red.
I had a similar experience getting off the carousel of my insincere routine church experience and letting Christ be like Ol’ Red – my source of strength and direction. Suddenly, it was His power and His influence making ministry happen and I was the conduit for Him to work through. The most amazing thing that happened was noticing how many of the people I thought were on the carousel were actually hanging onto Christ and I had never noticed it before. The carousel was “in me.” Getting off the carousel was getting off the addiction to me. The safety I sought was not just about my activities, it was about me looking out for me rather than abandoning myself to Christ and letting Christ use me as He wills.
So if you feel at times you are on a carousel, why not just give up trying to do everything your way and in your strength, and give yourself fully to Christ, letting Him lead and empower you in the ride he has for you to travel with Him.