Sunday, December 19, 2010


On the Trail with Stephen Bly

A friend sent me a raffle ticket for a drawing on behalf of his favorite charity. Seemed like a worthy cause. And to tell the truth, I didn't mind winning. First prize: a handcrafted, silver mounted, full stamped trophy saddle.

I’ve watched the guys who build these kinds of saddles. I know the work it takes. My own saddles have been slick and plain, because that’s all I could afford. But handcrafting and stamping on saddles means more than just fancy fofarraw. Like everything else connected with cowboy gear, the tooling on the saddle has a practical purpose as well. The rough indentations of the fancy saddle cause friction on the rider’s Wranglers. They help a cowboy sit tight in the saddle without the tiresome leg cramps that sometimes accompany riding a snuffy horse.

Most everything an old-time cowboy did and wore had a logical reason, a purpose behind the action.

Just like St. Paul who said, “I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air” (1 Corinthians 9:26). Every action of his involved a single-minded goal, a well considered reason, a spiritual purpose.
Bible principles center around spiritual instruction, practical discipline, respect for the sacred. The eternal perspective.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t add some polish and shine to what we do. For instance, we can have an uproar of a fun time trying to be good.
We’ve got a choice. We can do the minimum—with a grudging attitude, just to get by so we don’t seem quite so ornery. Or we can obey with flair, with cheer, with delight. Either way will get you there, if you’ve got Jesus. But one way sure does resonate a whole heap better. And puts the shine of chrome on your life.
Sort of like the difference between a plain saddle and one that’s full stamped.


How are you adding some spit, polish & shine to your duties of this day?


Carla Gade said...

Stephen, I love your perspective on things - "obey with flair, with cheer, with delight".

I never new that tooled saddles held a purpose. My husband used to tool leather for a hobby. I always thought it was just done for decorative reasons.

I hope you and your wife enjoy a beautiful and meaningful Christmas with your family! Bless you both.

Stephen Bly said...

Carla: Thanks so much for your note. Tool leather hobby is something I never got into myself, but always admire. A very Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones too!