Have you heard the statement, “Anything’s for sale if the price is right!”? I want to talk to you, dear readers, about a couple of things that must NOT be for sale in the hearts of individuals.
In June, I made a decision to fill out an application to attend an informational clinic at a horse ranch in Bend, Oregon. My application was accepted and preparations were under way.
Over one hundred of us gathered together on the site of a converted nine acre cinder pit to talk about dreams of rescuing horses and humans. I represented our beautiful state of Alabama!
Out of the thirty horses present on the ranch we were introduced to seven, hearing their rescue stories, and what message each brings to the humans that connect with them in one of the three corrals on the ranch. One of the horses rescued was from Louisiana when hurricane Katrina visited us with such force. When the levees broke, the water currents carried many away. Days after, in the aftermath of this horrific storm, a horse was spotted alive, surrounded by water and debris on all sides.
Using chainsaws from their boat, men made an opening to free the horse. Upon investigation they discovered that the horse, while being swept away in the currents, found there was a solid mound of dirt underneath his front hooves. When his hind legs reached that spot, the horse shifted all his weight and anchored down; waiting for help. The message: “having done all, stand; help/hope is on its way.”
I heard some amazing true stories of some remarkable horses with a will to live and live! And, there were stories of humans who have suffered some huge traumas in life being touched with hope and healing, purpose and meaning, self-esteem capsulated with dignity, value and worth, as they in turn touched these incredible animals in a Christ centered environment.
In the midst of rescuing horses, mentoring staff, and providing a safe place for all who step foot on the land, I realized that on this ranch there are two specific things that are NOT FOR SALE.
Horses cost money; youth don’t have any or much. To successfully operate this type of outreach, support comes in from willing, giving souls; grants, fund raising cook-outs, etc. You can imagine how awesome it would have been for the ranch owner to be presented with an offer of a sizeable annual contribution from someone who has followed this proven ministry outreach for years.
I’m sure I was not the only one thinking, “Wow”! How generous, how kind, how caring, right? There was just one single, tiny, little, stipulation: don’t do the “God thing.” You know, like, pray, the Bible, that whole faith thing. In tenderness of heart and a living, breathing relationship with Christ Jesus, gratitude was expressed for the generous offer extended, along with, “I can’t accept.” How come?
You see, each of the horses is prayed over. Each child, parent, youth, staff member is prayed over. Prayer is a way of life for this ranch. Why pray if you do not KNOW you are being heard? Faith is not for sale, therefore it cannot be bought! Faith works by love. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Another day, another person arrives on the ranch with checkbook in hand to cover the expenses for a roof over one of the corrals. “No thank-you.” What? What is the logic behind that? The logic empowered with compassion to say “no thank you” one more time because something of more value than a roof was a stake.
The ranch’s ministry leader had an understanding of the value of rest. On rainy days they do board games, visit one-on-one, things like that. On hot days they dunk their head in a water trough prior to riding. Though serving is the lifestyle on this ranch, equally important is resting. Rest is the other thing that cannot be bought.
Well meaning people come into our lives with their agendas and wants. Know what you’re about and stay true! Surround yourself with people who know you and what your mission & vision are. Ask meaningful questions and decide to remain in faith and rest with great joy and simplicity.