What Horse Rescues Teach about Discipleship and Evangelism

Some people rescue horses. Other people train great prospects or re-train horses with annoying or dangerous habits. Most folks addicted to the 4-legged furry ones don’t have the opportunity to own a horse, but spend time in service, support, or fellowship whenever possible, with horses and those who love and care for them.

Happy Horse Haven Rescue

Happy Horse Haven Rescue

What does relationship with horses teach Christians about relationship to our fellow men? Some Christians are called to preach, some to teach or provide hospitality, and some to evangelize. Most time spent in the company of horses has a parallel in relationship with other people.

How People Serve Horses and Humans

  • Some train highly talented horses, some train highly gifted people.
  • Some are called to teach youngsters basic manners and social skills.
  • Some have the heart and spirit to tackle the bossy, the aggressive, the fearful, or the broken ones.
  • Some have neither the skills nor abilities to stand out in front of the crowd – but are blessed with the gift of hospitality or support.
  • Some are called to rescue the lost, the sick, the abandoned, and the dying.

Every horse is not identical with every other. All share the same Creator and similar physical, emotional, and spiritual characteristics. But a Shetland Pony is not a Clydesdale and an Arabian is not a Gypsy. Every horse has the potential to serve just as every person has the potential to serve, just not in the same way as every other.

Horses Need Rescue from People

The sole reason horses need rescue is the errant, negligent, ignorant, or evil act of humans. God’s plan worked beautifully for horses until Adam and Eve decided they had another idea. Horses who have never seen a human are still constrained by humans – or we wouldn’t know they exist. Wild horses live at the mercy of people because land and water use is managed by people.

Not every horse enthusiast is equipped to rescue lost or dying horses. Love and empathy for equines victimized by humans isn’t enough. Compassion is just a gate opening the way for the first rescue. Commitment is the fuel that keeps rescues moving forward.

Not all rescue operations are successful. A frightening number of rescuers end up as hoarders, whether of horses, dogs, or cats.

Compassion and commitment are motivators, but ability and being properly equipped determine if the rescue is successful or just one more step on the way down for at risk or doomed animals.

Requirements for a Successful Rescue

Successful rescuers are called to serve, convicted to take action, but also need ample resources of skill, funding, and place. Preparation leads to continuing development that never ends. Relationships are not static. Mental, physical, and spiritual conditions change by the day and hour.

Few rescues are completely self-funded. Most rely on sponsors and volunteers to continue operations.  Stewardship becomes a complicating responsibility when added to compassion, commitment, ability, and being properly equipped. Last Chance Corral rescue

Rescue isn’t only about serving the needs of horses, but managing expectations and relationship with humans who provide support and funding for the operation. Every animal adopted from a shelter or the wild is rescued. Whether or not it will need to be rescued again depends on the compassion, commitment, and ability of the people who accepted responsibility for it.

The first act of rescue is the beginning. Success is based on what happens on days two, three and every day thereafter.

Compassion and commitment are motivators, but ability and being properly equipped determine if the rescue is successful or just one more step on the way down for at risk or doomed animals.

Discipleship and Evangelism

The counterparts of all the possibilities of relationship with horses exist in the Christian community. Evangelists reach out to the lost, offering the hope of rescue to people in need. Discipleship is the daily business of Christian life, whether it is evangelizing, teaching, preaching, feeding, or providing support to those who teach, preach, feed, and rescue.

Discipleship is the process of recognizing and responding to the call to serve specific to one’s present ability, location, and circumstance.

Facebook is filled with photos of horses and dogs that need rescue. The number of people who commit to take the animal home is minuscule compared to the number of people who say they would like to take the animal home. This is not a bad thing, it is a good thing.

Responsible people deny their desire to rescue or adopt when their circumstance does not make it possible or feasible. Everyone wants to cuddle the puppy or pony, but unless the desire to love is paired with the ability to commit time and resources, the rescued animal will be warehoused, ignored, or further abused. Wisdom knows the difference between emotional fantasy and reality.

The Holy Spirit does not call everyone to the same mission field.

People Need Rescue from Themselves

Horses live at the mercy of people. People live at the mercy of their own spiritual condition; arrogance, ignorance, negligence, evil. Rescue is necessary because of sin. Human rescue is possible only through Jesus Christ. All are called to teach, preach, and imitate Christ – in the manner, place, and time determined by God.

Never open a horse rescue if you are not called and equipped to do so. Don’t become a missionary, an evangelist, a teacher, or rescuer because someone told you to. Following the whims, guilt trips, or suggestions of other men are what caused the need for rescue in the first place.

Discipleship is the daily grind of evangelism. Discipleship recognizes the unique qualities of each New Creation in Christ. Would you harness a team of Shetland ponies to the Budweiser wagon? Would you gallop across the desert on a Clydesdale?

Would you send a newly domesticated Mustang to the nastiest trainer you know to prepare it for your 4-year old grandchild? Would you ask a person to trim the feet of your horse who thinks every frog lives on a lily pad?

Action Item – Evangelism and Discipleship

Inspiration and soaring spiritual heights can be exhilarating. Many preachers judge messaging success with the degree of emotional ecstasy produced in the audience. Inspiration and emotion alone never fed anyone. In fact, getting people energized without offering an outlet is pointless and even dangerous.

God never asks you to do something without providing the means. He makes you able, your part is to be willing. 
Challenge emotion with wisdom.

Compare your desire to serve with reality.

  • If called to teach, have you mastered the material?
  • If called to evangelize, are you equipped to rescue?
  • Once you bring rescues in, are you prepared to provide support and care 24/7?
  • If called to feed, is your pantry full and the stove fueled? Will the hungry hear the ring of your dinner bell?
  • Do you have a grand mission but need someone else to step in with funding or direction?
  • Are you taking care of the ministry nearest, the little mundane daily chores? Someone has to clean buckets, muck stalls, and stack hay bales.
  • Do you have leftover time and resources once the needs of every existing commitment are met?

God Never Overbooks or Overburdens

Breaking one promise in order to make another is always wrong. It is little different than kicking one starving horse out of the barn to fend for itself on the gravel roadside in order to make room for a new rescue.

People who are truly called seldom ask for it or see it coming.

“For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship.” – 1 Corinthians 9:16-17

The Apostle Paul did what he did because he could do nothing else. I guarantee I never aspired to teach or minister, but I understand what Paul meant. I can’t not do what I do. There is no other option I could live with.

All God calls God equips.

Are you called to serve? All who are called will either:

  • Equip the saints.
  • Edify the saints.
  • Encourage the saints.
  • Empower the saints.
  • Rescue the lost so the Holy Spirit can create new saints.

Salvation is through Jesus Christ alone. He uses people (and horses) to accomplish His purpose. The eternal state of every horse and human is determined by Christ and Christ alone.

Every photo of a hungry child is not a call to feed. Every photo of a wounded man is not a call to heal. Every photo of a homeless horse is not a call to rescue.

Listen for God’s call. Be wise. Be obedient. His call always arrives with action items and the means to accomplish them.

Judge everything by the fruit.

~ Click link or photo:DWH apply gospel principles

Last Chance Corral 

Happy Horse Haven  


  1. april:

    Thanks for the inspiration Lynn

    • Lynn Lynn:

      April, your input is appreciated!

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