On The Trail with
One way to measure the skill of a cowboy in the Old West? Determine how well he takes care of his horse.
A horse provided his job, his travel home, his net worth. The beast became a companion and sometimes an escape route too. Other cowboys didn’t think much of a man who would, without good cause, run a horse down.
In order to save your life, you might need to ask more of your pony than he could safely give. But that was the exception.
One sure sign of a tenderfoot, or a worthless cowhand: when he gimleted a horse, that is, rode him until his back was sore. On the big cattle drives the cowboys avoided this by changing horses several times a day. When traveling from place to place on the same horse, they’d ride a couple hours, climb off, loosen the cinch, then hike a while to give the horse a rest.
One complaint I have with some western movies and TV shows—a cowboy seldom climbs down to give his horse a break. However, an exception. . .John Wayne does make the point in a dramatic scene in The Searchers.
It just makes good sense to take special care of what keeps you going. The same’s true in the spiritual realm. Your faith keeps you safe, guides you, moves you toward positive goals. So why not take good care of your faith?
St. Paul complained of those who “shipwrecked their faith” (1 Timothy 1:18,19). Shipwrecked faith looks something like a gimleted horse—rundown, misused, devalued because of neglect.
But instead of giving your faith a break, ride it harder. Activate it daily. Study God’s promises. Practice gut-level believing them, one by one. Do some spiritual aerobics. Exercise trust.
What one thing can you do today to prevent a gimlet of your faith?