Cowboy Paul

 
We had a horse when I was growing up. His name was Booger, a Shetland pony. I didn’t name him but I laughed when I heard it and wondered why. Dad said it was because Booger was a cantankerous and contrary little horse, and the other horses didn’t like him. They would kick him and bite him and he was always boogered up so they just called him Booger.Booger was cantankerous and contrary and also lazy. When the newness of having a horse wore off I didn’t pay much attention to Booger. He spent most of his time just behind a fence near a grove of cottonwood trees. There he had his little barn, his water tank, his trough of horse food and fresh hay and he didn’t like to venture too far away.Behind the barn was a path leading up a small hill to more pasture but Booger never went up there. We tried to ride him around the 11 acres of pasture but Booger would just move around the barn, the shade trees, his hay and water and that was about it no matter how much we kicked and cajoled him.This would have been fine but I had a different idea of what a horse should be. I watched shows like The Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers and movies with Gary Cooper or Randolph Scott. Their horses could do tricks, and came running when they whistled; But not Booger.One Saturday morning I saw an episode of Hop Along Cassidy. He had his horse go galloping off as he ran alongside hanging on to the horn of the saddle and then using the momentum he hopped up in the saddle. He jumped up and stood on the saddle and then swung down on the other side and back up in the saddle. I couldn’t wait to try that with Booger.But, Booger had other ideas. He eyed me suspiciously as I held his bridle behind my back with one hand and reached out with a sugar cube in the other. When I was close enough I let him snatch the sugar cube from the palm of my hand while I swung my arm around his neck and put him in a headlock. Booger tossed his head and tried to back away but I backed with him, sliding the bit into his mouth.Once it was buckled behind his ears he stomped his feet and sighed as he adjusted the bit in his mouth. “Now! Ol’ Booger,” I announced as I tied the reins to a fence post. “I’m going to put the saddle on you!” Soon I had him saddled up and ready to ride. I got on and worked at edging him up the hill but Booger would only circle back around to the shade trees. I got off and began tugging at him using the reins to get him to go up the hill. I knew if I could get him up the hill he would want to go back down.I was sweaty and tired but finally we were up the small hill and in the back pasture. “This isn’t so bad, is it Booger?” I asked him. He kept trying to turn around to go back. “Not yet!” I’d say. Finally, I let him turn around and he began walking towards his shady spot. I walked along side and urged him to gallop. “Giddy up, Booger!” I hollered. He topped out at a fast walk. I grabbed the saddle horn and swung up in the saddle and Booger kept going. I hopped down on the other side and then back up in the saddle. Finally I cautiously stood up on the saddle, holding the reins and feeling like a real cowboy. But by then we were almost down the hill and back in the shade.Booger went straight to his water tank and drank his fill of water. Then he munched on some hay and refused any more of my attempts to pull him back up the hill. He was back in his comfort zone and he wasn’t leaving. I pulled off the saddle and bridle and put them away and ran in and got a couple more sugar cubes.“Here you go, ol’ Booger.” I said as I put out my hand. “You deserve them.” Booger snorted and reached out his neck as far as it would go and took the sugar. I rubbed his head and patted the side of his neck. “You like to stay right here, don’t you?”
Yep. Booger had his comfort zone and he didn’t like to venture out of it. Just like me. I like to stay where I’m comfortable and feel safe but I’m so glad the Lord Jesus Christ was willing to leave His comfort zone and sacrifice Himself to redeem me. And if you feel the Lord leading you to step out of your comfort zone for Him, don’t be a Booger.Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Ephesians 5.2 NLT

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