Pastor in Pasture: Raising Choice Men, Brave Warriors, and Outstanding Leaders
They catch their horses out of the pen and lead them to the saddle house. No words are spoken, they’ve done this time and time again. Curry combs and brushes make strokes on strong backs of good saddle horses causing dead hair and dust to fill the early morning air. The smell of horse sweat and leather combine to form a cowboy’s favorite perfume. Blankets and saddles settle to find their place and latigo leather and cinches secure the load. They each slide their legs into their custom made step-ins, worn and faded; signs of lessons learned. Bridles in hand are slipped onto horses heads and behind their ears. A quick check of cinches is in order. Reins and mane in left hand and horn in the other; they each step on effortlessly. They bring their offside foot over cantles and ease them into their appointed stirrup. Levis settle into their seat for the day. All is in place and horses and riders are ready. A nod to each other, says, “I’m good to go,” before they turn to ride off; showing the cowboy manners taught to them by those they have rode with in the past.
As I pull my horse up, I watch this story unfold of two men that I remember as boys. I reminisce of how they “helped” and how saddles looked like postage stamps on those “babysitters” with four legs. I think back about tiny fingers on tiny hands wrapped around knots tied in split reins. This story has taken over twenty five – plus years in the making; now horseback riders picking their way through the green boughs of scattered brush. I cherish those memories of two buttons growing up riding…however now…I watch with pride and cherish these moments…as two horseback men they fade into the distance…(excerpt from “Fading Into The Cedars” from my website: http://www.pastorinthepasture.com)
I share this with you not out of a prideful, bragging heart but letting you know that I’m not perfect and I’ve made some mistakes along the way. Being a dad is an awesome responsibility and something that God has given to us and called us to carry out as fathers. Even though I’ve made mistakes I think I’ve done a good job but I don’t see it as finished. I want you to also know that I have had lots of help, advice, and guidance from men that have influenced my life as a dad. These men I refer to have been my dad (for sure), Godly men that I’ve had in my life that set a good example, and some men have made that influence through their writings. Father’s Day is just around the corner and I have been rereading a good book on being a dad. If you get a chance pick up a copy of “The Warrior Within” by Pat Williams; to encourage a dad you might know. Here are a few of things I’ve learned in this book.
1. Husband and Father: If you’re married, be a great husband as well as a great father. If you’re a single dad, divorced or widower, be sure you still taking your God-given role as father seriously.
2. Character and Integrity: Grow in your walk with Christ; be Christlike. Take on His character and your integrity will remain intact.
3. Fight For God: We are in a battle for truth in today’s society and truth begins and ends with God. It doesn’t need to be re-evaluated and it needs no redefinition. The war we face is a spiritual warfare that can only be fought with the armor of God. (See Ephesians 6:10-20)
4. Lead Your Family Well: Be the leader of your family. Step up and be a man to lead your wife and to lead your children. In military patrols there is a point man and as he leads he watches for the enemy, for traps, and for good safe passage for himself and the team. Be the point man for your family.
5. God The Father, The Ultimate Example: God the Father is the supreme model and example of fatherly authority, love, forgiveness, and generosity. If you use His example as the blueprint you can’t go wrong.
Don’t think for a second that you’ll be a perfect dad or that you are a perfect dad. However, you can be and learn to be a great dad. We read this in 1 Chronicles 7:40, “All these were descendants of Asher—heads of families, choice men, brave warriors and outstanding leaders. The number of men ready for battle, as listed in their genealogy, was 26,000.” (1 Chronicles 7:40) There were failures amongst the descendants of Asher but they had a great heritage and family lineage. Let us be the fathers that raise up a generation in the way of Asher, but more importantly in the way of Christ.
I’ll see y’all out in the pasture!