Most bomb-proof horses have two things in common: patience and contentment. Good ‘ol rope horses are hauled, borrowed, and stand tied for hours to arena rails, trailers, trees, and truck bumpers.
Horses also learn to patiently stand tied to nothing more than one another.
When called to the roping box good ‘ol horses come alive, prepared to do their job. Once the steer is caught and loosed the horse patiently serves as an easy chair for its rider or is content to stand tied to whatever is handy. The good ‘ol rope horse settles in for a nap until need to serve again.
Ranch horses are the triathlon athletes of rope horses. Jack of all trades, ranch horses serve until the day’s work is complete. Sometimes the only source of water is found in the cowboy hat their partner offers from his own canteen.
God’s Work Horse
The Apostle Paul was routinely ridden hard and put up wet. Jews laid 195 stripes on his back; three times he suffered the rod, and was once stoned and left for dead. Shipwrecked three times, Paul was often sleepless, hungry, imprisoned, cold and naked. (2 Corinthians 11:24-27)
Paul didn’t enjoy a cozy barn, clean bedding, and regular access to feed and clean water. Rope horses never know when or where they’ll haul next. They don’t know who they’ll carry to the roping box. They know their job and patiently wait to perform it when asked. In between they are content.
I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. – Philippians 4:11-12
Many owners are frustrated by horses that jig on the trail, paw when tied, or announce their dissatisfaction by some bit of disrespect or vice. Don’t we all treasure the special horse that is obedient, patient, and content in any circumstance?
How many believers today are patient and content in any situation or circumstance? Are we content to stand tied to one another, or do we find that a bit too close for comfort? Isn’t it curious that we expect more from our horses than we are willing to offer to the One who gave His life to guarantee our eternity?