Both Christians and horse trainers fail when either is more concerned about observable activity than time spent soaking. What is soaking? It is time spent in reflection; at rest; in relationship. Without it, all the activity in the world in Christian service or galloping in abandon is fruitless.
“In Our Lord’s life there was none of the press and rush of tremendous activity that we regard so highly, and the disciple is to be as his Master. The central thing about the kingdom of Jesus Christ is a personal relationship to Himself, not public usefulness to men.” [Oswald Chambers]
For those who desire to serve the Lord the most important element is time spent soaking before God. If insufficient soaking time is provided, both horses and Christians alike will, “snap when the strain comes; but if this time of soaking before God is being spent in getting rooted and grounded in God on the un-practical line, you will remain true to Him whatever happens.”
Relationship is the Key
Great horse trainers allow ample soaking time when introducing new concepts and maneuvers to a horse. It is a critical time that allows the horse to process the information, ask questions (yes, horses do ask questions), and then begin to build a connection between the conceptual and the practical.
Time spent alone with our Master – or a horse with its trainer – is the only way revelation comes. Concepts are presented and time is granted to soak, to inquire, to reflect. Trust in the leader is the key to relationship. Leaders who do not provide ample soaking time are unworthy.
Christians with the habit of action first, who gloss over time spent soaking and in reflection, never discover what it possible in relationship with Jesus. Jesus promises peace, joy, and an easy yoke. These gifts of grace are there for the taking. We have to ask, inquire, and knock in order to receive them. These are quiet pursuits.
Is there any verse in the Bible that tells us Jesus ran somewhere or even hurried? No. When faced with a need to act, both Jesus and King David went to the Father in prayer. They soaked before God. Only then did their feet begin to move.
When Ministry Becomes Temptation
Why do modern Christians skip this fundamental step and simply rush off to serve? Why do horse trainers fail to offer this most basic requirement of relationship and success to your equine students?
Humans have run headlong toward goals and rewards since the gate closed behind Adam and Eve. One example of temptation is the pursuit of potentially wonderful goals in the wrong manner. For both Christians and horse trainers, taking a shortcut to some prize is the essence of temptation. The ends never justify the means. Heaven is the goal of most folks, but there is no shortcut to getting there. There is one path, one Name, and one Way. No alternative means will deliver you into God’s welcoming presence.
Service performed of our own will is not service to the King. Winning a world championship is not a worthy prize if the horse you rode in on is not made stronger and more confident by the process.
Now that you know what soaking is, take a moment or two to practice it. Reflect. As a good horse trainer I always allow my horse to ask questions at the proper time. If you have any, please take a moment to ask. I’ll do my best to provide an answer.
Each quote in this post is from “My Utmost for His Highest” for October 19th.