Pastor in the Pasture: Camp, Not a Permanent Place

Wendel Elliot
Pastor in the Pasture

The starting of the day at camp during the works starts with the early morning sounds of the camp cook getting the coffee pot boiling. The sun is far from coming over the horizon but it’s time to roll out of the bedroll and unzip the door to the cowboy range teepee. There’s horses to jingle and your name is on this morning’s chore. It’s time to saddle up and you are sure thankful for that first cup. You down it as quick as you can and thank the chuckwagon cook before heading to the corrals.

You may have had the opportunity to experience what I’m talking about. Some may have worked as a pack outfitter or have been on one of those pack trips as a customer. You may have been the one to start the coffee to boil over an open fire. Those that wear the apron of “cocinero” maybe taken for granted from time to time, however they are always respected. It’s hard work to be the camp cook. It comes with early and late hours, toil over hot coals, and making sure that there is enough food for hungry folks.

I recently had the honor of preaching at a funeral for a feller that had slung a many a dutch oven around our parts. A story was shared of how one night, when the chuck box lid that should have been closed, remained open. This “cooky” was busy whippin’ up 13 dozen fresh glazed donuts for the night herders. That was the kind of feller he was and the legacy he left behind. He moved many a camp during his time as a chuckwagon cook. These camps were temporary dwelling places where he cooked and bedded down. It was this thought and how this cook and cowboy lived his life that reminded me of what the apostle Paul wrote:

“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-7 NIV)

The feller that I am speaking of knew that this was a temporary dwelling place and that there was a permanent home waiting for him that was built by God, Himself.

I sure hope that we all take that view of this “earthly tent” and we prepare for our heavenly dwelling.

I’ll see ya’ll out in the pasture!