One of the things I'd really been looking forward to was cutting up some wood in the morning while the girls rode on our lower property, going to a friend's function, then curling up in the afternoon and reading a good Western. You know—cowboys, six guns, wide open plains, and of course horses and cows. It has been a love of mine since fourth grade.
I was anticipating the afternoon time reading, dozing, and simply being in another place and time for awhile. Then . . . when we got back from the function, we thought our cows and sheep had gotten out. We looked everywhere with binoculars across the 40 acres and couldn't find them. The girls went out on one of our horses combing the draws and hidden depressions and couldn't find them. They did find, however, a spot where the fence was low on the back side and some matted grass leading up to it.
|Looking across our property (at a greener time of year) |
to the brush-covered hill we figured the cows and
sheep had escaped to.
And so . . . we could only imagine the cows got spooked earlier in the day when the girls were practicing moving them around from horseback, and that they probably went over the fence and up into the thick brush and hills on the others side of it, the sheep faithfully in tow. It was a daunting prospect to think of hiking those hills in the heat with flakes of alfalfa in our hands, watching for snakes, locating the roaming critters, trying to move them back to and through the fence, then having to repair the fence. I wanted to read my Western!
|The girls on Baylie, our retired cutting horse they used|
to move the cows around.
It was one of those moments of self-confronting. I had to ask, "Do you want to read about it, or be it?" and then, almost immediately, came the follow up question . . . "And what about your faith, do you want to read about it, or live it?"
I love to read about God. I love to curl up in my chair with a cup of good, strong coffee, and study Him. And so it was a strong reminder to me to be on guard against being more in love with the idea of something then the reality. It is not to say that Bible study, church, Men's Group, etc., are not important—they are tremendously important—but if I ever let the study of the Christian life replace living the Christian life I've missed what it is all about. If I ever let things about Jesus replace Jesus I've missed the mark it all aims at.
Paul wrote, "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20) It is Christ who lives in me, desiring to live through me. It is a life often tiring, inconvenient, and with, at times, great cost . . . but it is the real thing, what we are created for—a living relationship following Jesus, allowing Him to live in and through us, loving and serving.
May I never forget the question: "Do you want to read about cowboys, or be one?"
P.S. We found the cows and sheep, still on our property, in a clump of bushes along the fence line, hidden until you were about 20 feet away.