A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dave's Deep Thoughts - Knowing When to Play Fetch

Here's Pastor Dave McDowell's weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA.

It’s been said,
If you want to climb into the saddle, you’d better be ready for the ride.”

I have a secret saddle.
It’s my John Deere.
When I am in my saddle, I am a lone cowboy out on the plains.

When I am out on the range, there are no phone calls, no texts,
no appointments, no projects, no planning sessions.

No, when I am riding my  mechanical horse,
it’s just me, the land, and skies that are not cloudy all day
for this cowpoke and Mother Earth.

No buffalo roaming…….
well, almost none.

When this cowboy is back on the ranch, there is one little buffalo in his life, 
a forty-two pound fur ball of love named Bushwhacker.
Like his master, he sees life as a grand adventure while out on the range.

Often he will gallop alongside me,
his Tonto to my Lone Ranger.

But this day on the prairie was different. Tonto was curiously missing.
As I turned the corner to circle back, there in my path……..
was one of his toy balls.

You see, my little sidekick has a passion as well.
It’s called FETCH. If he could, he would play fetch 16 hours a day.
So I picked up the ball and through it a country mile.

As I mounted my metallic stallion again, I should have known that I had made a mistake.
For there on the second time around,  was the ball lying again on my horse path.
I just wanted to be home on the range but my little partner wanted to play like the deer and the antelope.

I stopped, dismounted, and put the ball in my saddlebag,
and there was my little buckaroo peering longingly for a gallop that was not to come.

The third time around, to my surprise, there was another ball waitin’ to be stampeded.
It appeared that the little cowpoke had a stash of balls that this cowboy didn’t know about.
As the ball went into my saddlebag, the little rancher looked like he was going to cry.

Apparently, the cry session didn’t last very long.
By the time I made my 4th roundup,
my little wrangler had placed another ball out on the plain.
Now I know that while home on the range, there isn’t supposed to be a discouraging word,
but it was time for this cowboy to give one to his little buddy.

Knowing that at this pace, it would take till sundown to git the job done,
it was time to take the little herdsman back inside the ranch house.

Sometimes cowboys just need to do what they gotta do….
We all at times, have to make choices,
choices between what are good things and what are the best things.

There are only 24 hours in each day, and often, more than 24 hours of needs.
Parents know what that feels like,   
business owners know it,
students experience it,
pastors can write a book about it,
even cowboys get weary.

All of us feel that way.
So how does one lay their head down at night
being at peace with what they have accomplished in the day
in a culture that always clamors for more busyness?

Consider the story of Mary and Martha,
a classic story about worrying versus worship. (Luke 10: 38-42)
Jesus didn’t tell  sister Martha that her work was not important 
There is great importance in serving others.
We learn that in the story of the Good Samaritan  (Luke 10: 25-37)

But  notice the story  of Mary & Martha directly follows the Good Samaritan story.

Sister Mary, knowing that time in Jesus’ presence was precious,
chooses to sit at her Master’s feet and listen.

What Jesus reminds Martha is that service that becomes frantic and overcommitted,
distracts us from the ultimate reason for service itself, and that is Jesus.

The key to making choices about what to do with our time?
Serve but don’t be frantic,
sacrifice for the well being of others,
but don’t let it trump intimacy with God.

After the prairie was mowed,
this cowboy went back to the ranch house and grabbed his little partner,
and they played fetch on into the sunset.

Giddy up!

“There is an appointed time for everything.
And there is a times for every event under heaven.”
                                                      Ecclesiastes 3:1

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