Pastor in the Pasture: Rethink Keeping Silent
I got a phone call, “What are you doing the next couple of days?” At that particular time I didn’t have much going on so I said, “Not much, why?” Joe (names have been changed to protect the innocent) told me he needed some help and he’d be by to pick me up that evening. After I threw in my bedroll and loaded my horse we headed to a neighbor’s place that was shipping some yearlings. In the cab of the pickup with us was another feller (I call him Jim) that I had never met. Jim is a good sized feller, with a good attitude, a top notch hand, and friendly. He is the kind of hand that helps make short days of those that tend to get drawn out. As soon as I crawled in the pickup, he started talking and I don’t think he drew a breath the whole weekend. He was talking when I got in the truck, he was talking when we threw out our bedrolls and called it a night, and he woke up talking.
Next morning we caught our horses to….you guessed it, the sound of his voice telling stories of outfits and horses. We finally got a little respite as we were trotting to the back of the pasture, but it was definitely brief. When the cow boss started dropping people off, our vocal friend was telling a tale. It came my turn to be dropped off and I was looking forward to getting by myself for a bit. You know the time when you can pull up to listen to God’s creation around you and it seems that it’s all performing just for you. You relish these times. Hearing cattle bawling in the distance, birds singing, the breeze through the trees….wait what’s that I hear? Something about an ol’ paint horse he used to have? I can still hear him across the pasture as the rest of the crew is being dropped off!
Sometimes silence is good. There’s folks in our lives that tend to just say too much. As believers and followers of Jesus we know that the Word tells us, “…But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger,” (JAMES 1:19 NASB) However, what about the important things in life? The things in life that need saying and are worth saying. What about upholding truth? We’ve become silent in some areas where we shouldn’t be holding our tongues.
As Jesus entered Jerusalem and the crowds were praising Him, the Pharisees that were there “said to Him, Teacher rebuke Your disciples.” But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!” (Luke 19:39-40 NASB) As far as the Gospel goes, how will folks know if we keep silent? As far as truth goes (which Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life… John 14:6 NASB) are we keeping silent? Where would we be if the prophets and disciples had remained silent in the face of adversity and lies?
Psalm 15 encourages us all to uphold truth and integrity: “O LORD, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart. He does not slander with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor takes up a reproach against his friend; In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, But who honors those who fear the LORD.”(PSALMS 15:1-4a NASB)
Therefore, my encouragement to all of us (because I do it too, sometimes) is to rethink keeping silent. Well, I best saddle up and be heading out…there’s truth to uphold.
I’ll see y’all out in the pasture!
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood, for the Feb. 20, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News