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.