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Old Dogs

Summer '13

John Riggs recalls a trip he made to Florida, visiting the Babcock Ranch cowboys who were busy with spring cow-calf work in 2013.

The cowboys who call the 90,000 acre Babcock Ranch home are cut from the same tough hide cowboys have come from for generations. Whether you resemble the rough-out side or are a little more smooth-sided, every cowboy has the same grit, hardiness and passion for what he is and what he does.

The deceptive beauty of the Babcock, with its palmetto flats, pine groves, year ‘round grass and gator-filled swamps require gritty men, horses, cattle and dogs to overcome the challenges of central Florida.

The Lord often speaks to me through experiences in everyday life. He spoke to me as I watched some dogs work a set of cow-calf pairs being brought back from the working pens to the pasture they call home.

The question came to my mind, “Where are all the ‘Old Dogs’ in the church?”

Those dogs wadded the cattle into a tight bundle, kind of like watching a round baler make a bale.

It was easy to spot the seasoned old cow dogs, the younger pups doing their best to imitate what they were doing. School was in session, the old dogs were teaching, and bovine was the topic.

old herding cow dog with cowboys on horseback in the background

Every once in a while an ill-tempered, slightly disgruntled mama would attempt an escape. The younger pups, looking somewhat confused, paused momentarily as the older dog took out in hot pursuit. The younger pups watched, then quickly headed right behind their seasoned instructors. Moments later, the disgruntled bovine was high tailing it back to the bunch with the old dog and pups right behind.

The question came to my mind, “Where are all the ‘Old Dogs’ in the church?”

I’m learning that, no matter how old I get, I still need an old dog in my life. I need an old dog that’s been there and done that … someone who can give advice when things in life get rank and try to bust out on you.

America, where are your “old dogs”? We are in desperate need of some old dogs to stand up for our nation and lead and teach others. Things are getting rank and busting out. We need some men to lead others and gather this nation back as one nation under God.

Our churches are full of old dogs who are content to sit on the back of the truck instead of engaging in the battle God has called us to. It’s much easier to ride around on the flat bed than to get off the truck and work a set of ill-tempered old Brahman crossed cows. You’re going to get stomped, kicked and run over, but how else are you going to learn what you need to teach some younger pups who will one day take your place?

Old spiritual dogs must follow Jesus Christ. He showed us and still teaches us how to be His dogs. So what are you teaching the younger ones that are watching you?

If you’re still a pup, are you teachable and willing?

Proverbs 4:20-27 says, “My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”

Old dogs, it’s time to get off the truck and teach some pups to search for the lost and bring back the strays.

I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak.
– Ezekiel 34:16 (NASB)