Keys to the Kingdom
By Carolyn Tucker
When I was about seven years old, my Dad borrowed our neighbor’s Shetland pony for the evening.
When I mounted that thing, he was totally uncontrollable and headed for every low-lying branch on our place. He dragged me off his back and I landed hard on the ground seven times. That Shetland had a mean streak a mile long and by the end of the night I pretty-much hated him.
I can’t say exactly what the point of this episode was but, because Dad was a horse lover, I think it was to see if I’d be interested in riding horses. I’m happy to say he never borrowed that crazy little hairy varmint again.
That Shetland pony was a really bad representation of what a good horse is like. I’m glad I didn’t give up on all horses, thinking they were all alike. If I would have had that wrong mindset, I would have never ridden a horse again, and I would’ve missed out on wonderful times with my father.
We enjoyed riding around the Hayward Rancho where I learned the difference between a running walk and a foxtrot. We were members of the Stockton Saddle Club and trailered our horses to the arena to ride with our friends on Monday nights. We rode together in the Stockton Walnut Festival parade and went on trail rides. Spending time with my Dad was a very special benefit for me. I wouldn’t trade those experiences and memories for a farm in Texas or all the gold in California.
Not all Christians are alike either. I’m very saddened when I hear this scenario: Q: “Where do you go to church?” A: “I don’t go to church. I used to, but someone offended me and I’ve never been back. All Christians are just a bunch of hypocrites.”
Unfortunately, this similar conversation is repeated by people all over the world.
It’s true that Christians are not perfect in everything we do or say all the time. But serious Christ followers have a perfect heart toward pleasing their heavenly Father. “But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said,’ I have found David son of Jesse, a man after My own heart. He will do everything I want him to do’” (Acts 13:22 NLT). King David loved God with all his heart. However, there were a few times he didn‘t do everything right. But because his heart was tender toward his heavenly Father, David repented, practiced obedience, and did mighty exploits for God’s Kingdom.
If I’ve got a box of truffles and one piece is messed up, it’s not going to keep me from enjoying the rest of the chocolates. If Mom burned the biscuits once, that’s not going to stop me from eating future mouth-watering biscuits that are baked to perfection. Give the devil a black eye and do yourself a favor — receive the imperfect and loving people that God has placed on your trail to lead you home.
Don’t miss out on the wonderfully- blessed life you were designed to have with your heavenly Father.
If you’ve been thrown for a loop, get back in the saddle again and ride into a personal relationship with Jesus. You can grow and enjoy the trail ride with other like-minded and like-hearted believers.
When your horse throws a shoe, you don’t shoot the horse! You make the necessary repairs and replace the shoe. You keep on riding the trail with all the others. When you’ve got the best Trail Boss and a lot of friendly imperfect riders to help you along, you’ll eventually get to your destination even if you’re riding drag.
The Key: Genuine representations of Christ are everywhere and they’re in the church too.