Monthly Archives: August 2015

That’s Not Why I Rode

One of my favorite movies in my youth was “The Man From Snowy River.”  Set in the 1800s in Australia it’s a coming of age story of Jim, a young man from the mountains who, after his father’s death, is forced to go work in the lowlands to prove he can look after himself.  He goes to work for wealthy cattleman Harrison and faces all the adversity of fitting in and proving himself to the other ranch hands and his boss.  And, of course, there’s Harrison’s pretty daughter.

 The story climaxes when Jim is falsely accused of setting loose Harrison’s extremely expensive colt allowing it to join the “Brumbies”; the wild horse herd.  Harrison calls together all the locals and offers a reward for the colt’s recovery.  And the chase begins through the spectacular scenery of the Snowy River Mountains.

It abruptly ends when “the mob” escapes down an unbelievably steep incline forcing all the riders to stop – all except Jim who, with a crack of his whip launches in slow-motion over the embankment and down the hill.

The rest of the riders all assume the Brumbies are lost and so head back to the ranch. But a while later they are astonished (spoiler alert) to see Jim single-handedly bringing in the herd. (Yes, it’s kind-of campy and somewhat far-fetched, but non-the-less…)

The scene that I wanted to get to is this. Once the horses are all in Harrison comes to Jim with a wad of cash saying “Here’s the reward as promised.”  Jim gives him a look of scorn and replies “That’s not why I rode. “

I was reminded of that scene in reading the account of Abraham after he rescued his nephew and many others from a raiding kingdom.  After the rescue the king of Sodom tries to give Abraham a reward for the return of his people and goods.  But Abraham refuses wanting no one to assume this king had made Abraham rich. Instead he gives a tithe to one identified as a Priest of God.

Abraham is, in essence saying “that’s not why I rode.” Wealth, status, comfort, accolades, power was not Abraham’s focus and motivation in life.  Rather, as Hebrew 11 says, he was looking for a better country, a heavenly one and God was not ashamed to be called his God.

What’s your reason for riding in life?  Are you riding for an immediate temporary reward? Do you realise you have been created and called for a greater, far more noble purpose?  God has called you to share in building his eternal kingdom.  That’s why I ride.

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Mow Down The Saskatoons

Part of my job at the farm is to mow a ten foot perimeter around the crops.  Because it’s registered seed the inspectors require that space to insure against cross contamination from other crops, as well as minimizing the weeds that are always prevalent on the edges of fields.

One of the other benefits of this practice is that I’m able to push back the ingrowth of trees and bush that creep in on the fields. I pull a five foot Schulte mower with a five foot wing behind the tractor. It’s amazing what that mower will eat.  I’ve been told that the factory tests their mowers endurance by lowering them at full throttle onto a metal post fixed in a concrete pad.  I can easily take down a three inch sapling leaving not much more than splinters.

Now when I’m obliterating those giant weeds called poplars I don’t feel the least twinge of regret.  But when I’m about to mow down a Saskatoon bush, especially one that’s heavy with big, juicy berries I have to admit I’m sorely tempted to pull out just a little and take down some of the crop instead. Or at least stop and eat the berries before I maul the bush.

But instead I remind myself, this is a seed farm not a berry farm.  (Ok, I did stop a couple of times when the berries were exceptionally plump and juicy.) The berries don’t make us any money, and likely nobody will pick them anyway.  It hurts, but I gotta do it.

Life is kind of like that sometimes.  It can be so easy to sacrifice the important for the immediate; to chase after things that bring temporary satisfaction at the expense of what is truly valuable.

Jesus said “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” and again, “do not store up your treasure on earth where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasure in heaven.”

Someone has said that nobody ever came to the end of their lives and wished they had spent more time in the office or the shop.  But many, many have longed for the opportunity to spend one more day with their spouse or children.  Many more in the final days have realised the futility of all they have accumulated or the thrills of this life they have pursued while ignoring the One who gave his life for them.

It might be worth your while to examine your life and see if you’ve been mowing crop to save a few berries.