For the person who doesn’t quite understand what I’m talking about when I call someone a ‘hand’, it’s a term often used in ranch or cowboy circles. It refers to someone who knows what they’re doing, and does a very good job at it….that’s what we call a ‘hand’.
I’ve been a cowboy all my life. Don’t do much cowboyin’ these days but once a cowboy, always a cowboy. It’s a ‘heart’ thing, an attitude thing! I grew up on a ranch in the Texas Panhandle so I’m way familiar with that kind of cowboyin’. In addition to that I was a rodeo cowboy as well, starting as an 8 year old kid in junior rodeos in Texas and Oklahoma mostly. Beyond that I entered the professional ranks and traveled extensively throughout the US and Canada for 6 or 7 years. And although I’ve moved on from that vocation and lifestyle I still stay in the loop, so to speak, with what’s going on in professional rodeo. Like I said, “Once a cowboy, always a cowboy”.
Being in the ministry now for nearly 30 years I’ve observed a phenomenon that seems to prove itself, at least to me, over and over. Cowboys are generally a little (or a lot!) gun shy of religion and religious people. Can’t say as I blame ’em…I’m a little that way, still, myself! They sure don’t like the pushy method and they’ll dang sure tell you about it if you get in their space. They can smell a phony, churchy manipulator a mile away! But knowing as many cowboys as I do, I don’t think I’ve ever met an unbeliever. There’s plenty of them not walking out a godly life, I guess you could surmise. But most of them have some kind of relationship with the Lord.
When a cowboy really comes to the Lord, they go ‘all in’! I think one reason is that they’ve tried about everything else out there to fill up that empty spot that all of us have. They’re dependable, they’re not afraid to work, they handle people well, they don’t just half-ass do things….they care! They’re not going to do the religious ‘dog and pony show’ for anyone. They’re genuine and authentic in their approach to Christianity. There oughta be more of that happening out there.
Cowboys would make great ‘hands’ for your church…..but it better be REAL!