Horse Camp by Scarlett Stough

“Real cowgirls carry their own saddles,” the wrangler said to my six-year old granddaughter, complaining it was too heavy, as she carried her saddle to the wheelbarrow holding the tack. But she did it. The child-size saddle was heavy, but not too heavy.

The girls had finished their performance for the families who came to admire their progress in riding and most of the families had stopped paying attention once the show was over. The horse camp may have ended, but the most important lesson came after the show. The girls tended to their animals and their equipment. They were learning responsibility comes with the enjoyment of the horses. They helped put away the tack. They were all still too small to saddle and unsaddle their mounts, but they were required to do what they could. They brushed the horses coats, gave them water and led them to their pasture. The horses had served them, and now they were serving the horses. They had chosen a group name, “The Horse Lovers.” Taking care of the horses was an expression of love, even though they don’t realize it yet.

The horses bore the burden of their small bodies and inexperienced riding. Then the girls did for the horses what the horses needed, grooming, water and rest. They weren’t exempt from the responsibility just because they were “girls.” Nor were they exempt because it challenged them to exert a strength they were not used to using. Nor were they asked to do something beyond their ability to do. The instructor and her helpers did what the small girls were not able to do on their own.

Jesus does the same for us. He challenges us to do what we can even when the task feels too heavy. Yet, he is available to ease the load that has become more than we can handle. He watches us even more carefully than the horse camp staff watched and guided the girls, keeping them safe and the horses comfortable. He doesn’t do for us what we need to do in order to become like him in service and compassion. Girl on horse.

God has given us many gifts which we enjoy, but those gifts and blessings come with responsibility. He wants us to be “real cowgirls,” real Christians, who carry our own saddles.

After the girls took care of the horses, they were rewarded with a certificate of completion, blue ribbons for their best efforts and a trophy. They were also made a promise: they would be permitted to go on a trail ride next summer once they successfully complete the instruction enabling them to be in control of the horses.

God, too, has made a promise: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness (Matthew 25:21!)” He will reward us with added responsibility when he returns because we learned to carry it now. “Real cowgirls carry their own saddles.” 

 

Volume 10 Issue 7 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation | Book Review

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