[CF Devotionals] 2007-11-16 - Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from a Cowboy

That may be a slight exaggeration, but I have found many nuggets of truth in the reruns of the Gene Autry Show that I watch when able. Autry was known in the entertainment and sports worlds (owner of a baseball team) as not only gifted in his arenas of life, but also as a fine Christian.

In response to the youngsters (and some not so young!) who looked up to him, Gene authored a Cowboy Code that I would like to share, along with some thoughts of my own, and several related Bible passages.*

  1. The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage

    Exodus 22:2-3 and Nehemiah 4:17-18 are two of several Bible references that illustrate the principle of self-defense. But we must not ever initiate unprovoked harm upon anyone. We are to live lives of fairness and justice (Micah 6:8); (James 2:1-5).

  2. He must never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him

    Both the Old Testament and the New warn us of the evil and consequences of gossiping and betraying confidences. Proverbs 11:12-13 says it well:

    A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor,
    but a man of understanding holds his tongue.
    A gossip betrays a confidence,
    but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.

  3. He must always tell the truth

    The Apostle Paul teaches us about the importance of being honest. He encourages us to "speak the truth in love" (Epheisans 4:15). And while sometimes today, it seems that some Christians have become obssesed with abortion, homosexuality and the like, we sometimes seem to neglect the fact that God's word expresses some of its harshest words when it comes to the sin of lying:

    Rev. 21:27 (New King James Version)

    But there shall by no means enter (Heaven) anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.

  4. He must be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals

    Some think that the Bible speaks only of the protection of work animals, but not so. In fact, though the pet lamb in 2nd Samuel 12 represent's Uriah's wife (with whom David had an affair), the pet was "like a daughter" to its owner, and even ate and drank with his family. And we in the US could take a few lessons from our Japanese friends, when it comes to the treatment of the elderly.

    Leviticus 19:32 (as well as many other passages) instructs us to show respect for our older family members and friends.

  5. He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas

    There is no room for true racism among Christians, for all races are equally valuable to our Lord Christ. (See Galatians 3:28)

  6. He must help people in distress

    Proverbs 19:13 provides pointed words for us, regarding those in need:

    He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.

    And we are to follow the example of our Lord Christ, who ministered to those in need.

  7. He must be a good worker

    As Colossians 3:23 reminds us, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." At work (paid or volunteer) and school, we Christians should not be doing just as little as we can to "get by." Rather, we should stand out as the most diligent and honest workers, not taking long breaks (which is stealing time), not spending a lot of time doing personal tasks (which is also stealing), and always giving our best efforts.

  8. He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits

    Paul taught us similarly, in Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV):

    Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

  9. He must respect women, parents, and his nation's laws

  10. The Cowboy is a Patriot

    Though on rare occasions, there is a place for "civil disobedience," in general the Bible teaches us to be obedient and responsible citizens, especially in countries such as the U.S., where most of the laws are compatible with - and sometimes even based on - the Bible's teachings:

    As Paul reminds us in Romans 13:1

    Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

If we as believers can follow the Cowboy Code in our lives, we will probably eventually hear those yearned-for words, "well done, thou good and faithful servant."

Jan

[email jan] cfdevpray@juno.com
http://www.cfdevotionals.org

All Scriptures are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise stated.