Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?
You been out ridin’ fences for so long now
Oh, you’re a hard one
I know that you got your reasons
These things that are pleasin’ you
Can hurt you somehow
“Desperado,” by Don Henley and Glenn Frey
I’m reading a book to our children right now that we just love. It’s called “Little Britches,” by Ralph Moody. Mr. Moody is the main character, nicknamed Little Britches, and he’s basically telling his autobiography during his childhood. It’s kind of like a boy version of “Little House on the Prairie.” Little Britches gets into lots of scrapes and spots, and it’s been so interesting to hear the wisdom his parents gave him during another time in our history.
Well, the other night, Little Britches tells how he ran into trouble while herding a neighbor’s cows (he was earning 35 cents a day). His father had just allowed him to use one of their best plow horses to do the job. (He was about 7 years-old.) He came home that night with the horse all lathered up and worn down. His father was very unhappy. Listen to the little speech that his father gave him (my paraphrase): Son, you’re trying to play cowboy instead of sparing your horse. Don’t go after each little stray cow at a running gallop. You’re overdoing it! Keep them in a group, and walk them back to their pasture. A cowboy with a spent horse is worse than a cowboy with no horse at all. Always remember, son, the best boss is the one who bosses least. Whether it’s cattle, or horses, or men; the least government is the best government. WOW.
The least government is the best government. What does he really mean by that? I don’t think he’s necessarily getting political, although it certainly applies. But he is surely talking about governing our selves. St. Francis of Assisi said it so well: Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words. May we all be marked and branded deeply with the fruit of self-control, yielding to the voice of a loving Master, allowing Him and His grace to seep out of our very pores. Then, and only then, can the people that come across our path truly catch the good news. Until we do that, our own agenda for our lives will help us straddle mediocrity, instead of committing fully to a life of truth. Be governed by the One who gives real liberty, and hop off that fence.
Biblical Meditation: Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (emphasis mine)